The Vishwa Hindu Parishad was on Monday refused permission by the Uttar Pradesh government to organise a yatra from Ayodhya to push for the construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed site, just days after it asked Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav to work as a bridge between Hindus and Muslims on the issue.
Principal Secretary, Home, R M Srivastava said VHP leader Ashok Singhal had sent a letter giving details of the Chaurasi Kosi Yatra (pilgrimage) between August 25 and September 13.
"The yatra is being organised with the demand of the construction of the temple at the disputed site," stated the letter.
The permission for the yatra was refused as the Supreme Court had ordered status quo at the disputed site, he said.
"After the (Ayodhya) judgment was passed by the special bench of the high court, one party moved the SC, which directed to maintain status quo," he told reporters.
Srivastava said that they also held a discussion with the district magistrates and police chiefs of the six districts which would have been covered during the yatra. The officials also agreed that the yatra should not go ahead.
The yatra would have started from Ayodhya and covered the districts of Faizabad, Barabanki, Gonda, Ambedkarnagar, Basti and Bahraich, before concluding in Ayodhya.
The official also contended that the traditional pilgrimage by Hindus along the route is already complete and "it will not be right to give permission for a new tradition."
"Keeping in view the situation, the government has decided not to give permission for the proposed yatra," he said
The VHP condemned the decision alleging that it violated basic religious rights.
"The UP government prohibiting the Hindu yatra at Ayodhya violates basic religious rights. We condemn it and the sants (saints) will decide the future course of action," VHP's International Working President Pravin Togadia said.
Meanwhile, the state government cited the Supreme Court order to justify its decision.
"In his letter, the VHP leader had said that the yatra was being organised so that the temple can be constructed at the disputed site. In the light of the SC order, the demand is impossible and there is no logic in organising the yatra," Shrivastava said.
The decision by the Samajwadi Party government came after the VHP revealed on Saturday that it had urged SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav to work as a bridge between Hindus and Muslims to pave the way for the construction of the Ram Temple
The SP leader had responded positively, said the VHP.
"We reminded Mulayam Singh of his announcement -- that the day the court will say that Babri mosque was constructed after demolishing some structure, he will support the construction of the temple," Singhal and Swami Chinmayanand had said after meeting Mulayam and his son, state Chief Minister Akhilesh.
"We told him that among all leaders, his acceptability among Muslims is maximum and he should act as a bridge and initiate the process, which he accepted," they had said, adding that both the leaders were very positive during the meeting.
"During the meeting, the SP supremo agreed that it took a long time for the court's decision to come and in the wake of the HC judgment, there should be a dialogue," they said.
Image: A protest by the VHP ' Photograph: Reuters