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Ram temple: VHP continues tirade against PM

October 14, 2003 22:29 IST

As tensions rose ahead of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's October 17 agitation in Ayodhya over the Ram temple, it continued its criticism of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee even as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh stepped in to cool the atmosphere.

The VHP held the prime minister "directly responsible" for the "repression" of Ram bhakts, which VHP leader Surendra Jain said, exposed the anti-Hindu image of the Centre.

The day began with RSS leader Ram Madhav meeting Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani, followed by discussions between VHP and RSS leaders on how to check the situation from getting out of control.

RSS chief K S Sudarshan spoke to Vajpayee and is understood to have discussed the need for ensuring peaceful execution of the VHP's programme and to impress on the Mulayam Singh Yadav government in Uttar Pradesh not to enforce "repressive" measures against Ram bhakts.

Later, Vajpayee and Advani discussed the situation and decided that Union Minister of State for Home Swami Chinmayananda would coordinate with the VHP to ensure that the programme passed off peacefully. It was also decided that no trains would be either stopped or diverted, as it would only put people to hardship. Bharatiya Janata Party president M Venkaiah Naidu was also present at the meeting.

The BJP sought to adopt a soft approach towards the VHP's October 17 programme with party spokesman Prakash Javadekar declining to comment on remarks by VHP leader Pravin Togadia about the BJP.

"The party is in agreement with whatever the prime minister has said on the VHP's programme, and we are sure it will pass off peacefully," party spokesman Prakash Javadekar told reporters in Delhi.

"The VHP is saying that they will do everything in a peaceful manner. Us par vishwas kiya jana chahiye (we should have faith in what they say)," Vajpayee had told reporters in Delhi on his return from an eight-day trip to Indonesia and Thailand.


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