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Ayodhya turns into fortress before yatra

Ayodhya turns into fortress before yatra
Amid possibilities of a showdown between the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the state security agencies over  the proposed 84- Kosi yatra from 25 August, the twin city of Faizabad and Ayodhya have been turned into a fortress as the government has sealed the borders of all six districts and has deployed heavy reinforcement to prevent the saffron brigade from taking out the yatra.

With the VHP adamant on going ahead with its planned yatra from Ayodhya from Sunday, the Faizabad district administration on Friday issued arrest warrants against its 70 leaders. Ashok Singhal, Pravin Togadia and Ram Vilas Vedanti are among the leaders against whom the warrants have been issued, Faizabad district magistrate Vipin Kumar Dwivedi told reporters in Faizabad. The yatra has been banned by the Uttar Pradesh government over possible communal flare-up.
According to police sources, 20 VHP activists have been nabbed while some senior leaders including Vedanti have gone underground. The borders of six districts- Barabanki, Faizabad,  Gonda,  Basti, Ambedknagar and Bahraich- have been sealed off and barricades have been placed at all entry points.

Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) RK Vishwakarma told reporters here that the state has sought 10 companies of Rapid Action Force (RAF) from the Centre which is to  be deployed in the six districts. Besides 14 companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and one of RAF which is available with the state has been also sent to the Faizabad and other adjoining districts to maintain law and order. He said that checkings at the railway stations and bus stations have started.

Intelligence reports have suggested that VHP  activists along with the sadhus and saints are expected to reach Faizabad, Basti and Barabanki by trains from far flung areas. Meanwhile, VHP working president Praveen Togadia said in Ayodhya that the proposed 84-Kosi parikrama will commence on 25 August.  ‘The parikrama is a religious affair, but SP president Mulayam Singh Yadav has given it a political look by imposing a restriction on it,’ Togadia said.

Meanwhile, UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav met legislators of Faizabad and adjoining districts and took stock of the situation there. The legislators were asked by Yadav to keep an eye on the situation and apprise the party and him about the ongoing developments in the area.
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