Concerned over the number of kar sevaks pouring into Ayodhya, Home Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani said on Thursday that the exercise could lead to flagrant defiance of court orders and warned the Vishwa Hindu Parishad that the government would not hesitate to take action to maintain law and order.
The VHP has "embarked on a course of action in Ayodhya, which is fraught with dangerous consequences. Thousands have assembled in Ayodhya to take part in a mass exercise, which can only lead to flagrant defiance of the court orders," he said in a terse statement a day after the all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to discuss the temple issue.
Asking VHP leaders, particularly Ashok Singhal, to abandon their present course of action, Advani said: "If, however, they persist with their present approach, the government would not hesitate to take action against those who defy court orders or create problems for law and order."
"Crores of our countrymen want the Ram Temple to be built at Ayodhya, but they want it to be built lawfully and peacefully," he said.
Maintaining that he had always felt proud of his association with the Ayodhya movement, Advani said: "What the VHP is currently engaged in can only cause damage to the great movement."
The home minister said that the government was "very correct" in saying that the temple issue could be solved either by agreement among the parties concerned or by a judicial verdict. "It certainly cannot be achieved by a confrontation," he asserted.
Advani also appealed to Hindu and Muslim leaders to initiate a dialogue to sort out the issue. "The country would be happy if the matter is resolved by an agreement between the two communities."
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