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Don't rub VHP the wrong way: Advani cautions Mulayam
October 15, 2003 18:17 IST
Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani on Wednesday counselled Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav against adopting a confrontationist approach towards the Vishwa Hindu Parishad karsevaks.
Advani's advice came soon after the Uttar Pradesh government arrested senior VHP leader Acharya Giriraj Kishore and over 1,100 activists in Lucknow as they were preparing to go Ayodhya.
The VHP has proposed to hold a campaign in the temple town on Friday.
Advani told Yadav, who is currently in Bhopal, over telephone that since assurances had been given by top Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leaders, including chief K S Sudershan, and the VHP that their programme would remain peaceful, confrontation should be avoided.
A home ministry spokesman said Yadav told Advani that he would hold discussions with state government officials and revert to Advani.
The RSS and the VHP, however, expressed contrasting views. The RSS described the Mulayam government's actions as 'provocative, unwarranted and confrontationist', while the VHP played it soft with Pravin Togadia assuring the state government that Friday's programme will be peaceful.
The RSS asked the government not to create 'hurdles' in the path of karsevaks trying to reach Ayodhya.
RSS chief K S Sudarshan also asked the karsevaks to maintain 'utmost restraint'.
He welcomed the initiative taken by the Centre in removing hurdles in the way of peaceful completion of the VHP programme by way of restoring normal movement of all train services to Ayodhya.
"This gesture of the government is in tune with its commitment to the large goal of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement," he said.
Togadia told a VHP rally: "If all the karsevaks, who have been prevented from reaching Ayodhya from across the country, were allowed to participate in the programme, we assure that it would be peaceful."
"We do not spread violence," he said, citing earlier programmes that were organised peacefully.
Togadia also demanded that Parliament enact a law for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.
Meanwhile, the state government tightened the security net in Ayodhya and the adjoining Faizabad deploying more paramilitary forces and maintaining round-the-clock vigil in motorboats to check possible infiltration of the VHP's activists from Basti and Gorakhpur districts.