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Rambhakts reach Ayodhya

Rambhakts reach Ayodhya

Author: Pramod Kumar & Omprakash
Publication: Organiser
Date: October 26, 2003

Introduction: Despite widespread check and police atrocities

It was really the repetition of 1990 when in spite of the reins of terror and widespread security made by the then Mulayam Singh Government; lakhs of Karsevaks had reached Ayodhya and hoisted the saffron flag on the tombs of the disputed structures.  This time too, notwithstanding the Mulayam Singh Government's reign of terror and atrocities, more than 55,000 Rambhakts entered Ayodhya and successfully organised the Sankalp Sabha.  However the meeting was later disturbed by the administration.  The UP Chief Minister, Mulayam Singh Yadav pretended not to follow the path of confrontation.  The State police crossed all limits in atrocities and did not spare even women, elderly people and children.  The villain of these atrocities was I.G., Ayodhya zone.

The first confrontation of Ramsevaks with the Police was reported at about 7 am when a group of hundreds of Ramsevaks was marching to Karsevakpuram.  After merciless lathicharge by the police they were arrested.  Similar confrontations were reported throughout the day.  Dr Ram Vilas Vedanti along with more than one thousand Rambhakts was arrested near the Saryu river.

Meanwhile in Karsevakpuram the police mercilessly lathicharged innocent Rambhakts and fired tear gas shells to disperse the unarmed Ramsevaks.  In spite of all these atrocities the VHP's Sankalp Sabha began in Karsevakpuram at about 10 am.  When the VHP activists arranged Dr Pravinbahi Togadia's speech from an unknown place through telephone, the police forces attacked the meeting and broke the main gate of Karsevakpuram as well as loudspeakers installed their.  In fact, the police atrocities in Karsevakpuram had begun on October 15 when the police did not serve food and water to the arrested labourers who work in the workshop.

Despite widespread arrests and moves on the part of administration to harass as well as create hurdles in their ways, thousands of Rambhakts staged massive demonstrations in New Delhi and Lucknow on October 1 5 and expressed their firm resolve to reconstruct Shri Ram temple in Ayodhya.  The hurdles put up by the administration in the form of diverting train routes and terminating bus services to Ayodhya, failed to demoralise them; rather they were looking more enthusiastic.  Despite reins of terror, more than 20,000 Rambhakts from different parts of the country assembled in New Delhi and warned the government to either hand over Shri Ramjanmabhoomi to Ramjanma-bhoomi Trust by bringing in legislation in the Parliament or be ready to face dire consequences.

Before starting the March to Ayodhya, at a meeting held at Ramlila grounds in New Delhi, the VHP General Secretary, Dr Pravinbahi Togadia assured the government of peace if it releases the arrested Rambhakts and VHP leaders including saints and allows them to reach Ayodhya unhindered.  He said reconstructing Shri Ram temple in Ayodhya was the right of Hindus and no power on earth would be able to stop it.  He said the suppression of Hindus' voice would no longer be tolerated in this country. lie prominent saints who attended the meeting include Swami Parmanand Maharaj, Swami Vishveshtirtha, Acharya Dharmendra and VHP president Vishnu Hari Dalmia.  After the meeting the Rambhakts started their march to Ayodhya.

Meanwhile, Senior Vice President of VHP, Acharya Giriraj Kishore was arrested along with thousands of Rambhakts while marching to Ayodhya in Lucknow on October 15.  While Acharyaji was taken to Dolibagh guest house, the other Rambhakts were taken to Reserve Police Lines that was converted into a temporary jail.  Terming his arrest illegal and unconstitutional he said that by preventing him from offering prayers at temples in Ayodhya, the Mulayam Singh Government had encroached upon his fundamental rights.

Earlier, addressing the Rambhakts in a meeting, he said that UP Chief Minister, Mulayam Singh Yadav had assured him at a wedding function last year that whenever he came to power in UP, it would be his government that would play

A key role in temple construction.  "I believe that Mulayam Singh is true to his word and now is the time to prove what he had said to me," he said.  Citing the ASI report and its findings, he said that VHP stand had already been vindicated by excavations.  There is no need for any delay now.  Temple construction must begin as soon as possible, he said adding that more than 1,78,000 Rambhakts were already on their way to Ayodhya from various parts of the country.

The police continued to crackdown on Rambhakts till October 17.  More than 45,000 Rambhakts led by Shankaracharya Vasudevanand Saraswati were arrested in Prayag while marching to Ayodhya.  BJP MP, Aditya Nath along with six thousand other Ramsevaks was arrested in Gorakhpur.  Senior saint Ramkamal Vedanti was arrested in Allahabad along with thousands of Ramsevaks.  There are reports of Ramsevaks' arrest from Pratapgarh, Aligarh, Basti, Ambedkar Nagar, Gonda, Bareilly and Kanpur.

According to official figures, about 50,000 Ramsevaks were arrested in different parts of Uttar Pradesh.  Though, the unofficial figure is more than one lakh.  The police adopted different methods to torture the arrested Ramsevaks.  They were beaten up in the vehicles in which they were taken to jails.  Not only this they were not served food in the jails.  The Ramsevaks from Karnataka, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, strongly protested against the police atrocities.  Similar reports were also received from Ghaziabad, Ayodhya and Faizabad.  There were unconfirmed reports of Rambhakts breaking jails and further moving to Ayodhya from more than 50 places of Uttar Pradesh.

Since October 15, Ayodhya city had been turned into a cantonment.  There was complete silence on the roads of Ayodhya.  Even the waves of Saryu river were not free from the close watch of security forces.  Eight boats full of PAC were patrolling the river round the clock to prevent the Rambhakts entering Ayodhya.  The Central paramilitary forces staged a flag march in Ayodhya and Faizabad.  As per reports besides seven companies of Rapid Action Force, 41 of CRPF, 18 of PAC, more than 1,000 PAC trainees were deployed in Ayodhya and adjoining areas.

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