Security intensified in Ayodhya, SMSes banned

AYODHYA (TIP): The Uttar Pradesh government has put a ban on short messaging services (SMS) in Ayodhya to clamp down on Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s (VHP) ‘Sankalp Sabha’ scheduled for October 18, an official said. More than 1200 people across the state have been placed under preventive arrest. Officials said strict vigil was being kept on movement of people to the temple town of Ayodhya and all borders to Faizabad were sealed Thursday. At least 42 people, including leaders associated with the Ram temple movement Mahant Nritya Gopaldas, Mahant Suresh Das, Brijmohan Das, Abhishek Mishra and Manmohan Das were placed under house arrest in Ayodhya. At least 366 people were arrested in the state capital. This included the state convener of the Bajrang Dal, Surendra Mishra and spokesman Sharad Sharma. Officials warned VHP and its affiliates not to try and move to Ayodhya.

Director general of police (DGP) Devraj Nagar, principal secretary (Home) Anil Kumar Gupta are camping in Ayodhya to ensure fool proof security. Traffic between Lucknow-Gorakhpur has been diverted through Barabanki, Gonda-Basti and Sultanpur, officials said. Inspector General (IG) Law and Order, RK Vishwakarma said that while Ram Vilas Vedanti had gone underground, there was no information on senior VHP leader Ashok Singhal so far. Officials, however, fear the ageing leader could turn up disguised at Ayodhya and hence, strict checking at entry points to Faizabad was being carried out and raids were continuing at possible hide outs of VHP leaders. Meanwhile, principal secretary (Home) Anil Kumar Gupta warned the VHP leadership not to try and enter Ayodhya. DGP Devraj Nagar said the contents of the ‘Sankalp Patra’ preceding the ‘Sankalp Sabha’ were “very inflammatory and could result in communal flare up”. Gupta added that such moves will never be tolerated or allowed to vitiate communal harmony.

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