VHP workers protest in UP; Singhal, Togadia released
Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) workers on Monday held demonstrations in several parts of Uttar Pradesh to protest against the state government’s crackdown on their “84 kosi parikrama” (300 km yatra around Ayodhya) on Sunday even as Parishad president Ashok Singhal and Praveen Togadia were released following a Allahabad High Court order.
VHP workers took out processions in Allahabad, Varanasi, Kanpur, Meerut and other places and shouted anti-government slogans. In Allahabad, the police took into custody several VHP workers and also placed a senior seer under house arrest.
Security continued to be tight in Ayodhya and other places as police decided not to take chances in view of the VHP’s protests. Police officials in Lucknow said the VHP leaders arrested during the Sunday crackdown would remain in jail for the next few days.
The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, on a habeas corpus petition, ordered the release of Singhal, Togadia and a seer – arrested by police for fear of disturbance of peace – if they were not wanted in any other case.
Singhal and 958 VHP activists were released later but Togadia and others continued to be in custody. Speaking to reporters after the release, Singhal rubbished the allegation that there was a “match fixing” between the Samajwadi Party-led government and the VHP. “Those who are saying so are fools,” he added.
The government had cracked down on the VHP workers and its top leaders and arrested thousands of people in Ayodhya and other places to foil the yatra. VHP had undertaken a symbolic yatra in Ayodhya.