Faizabad, Basti again turn into forts as VHP to conclude yatra

Faizabad and adjoining Basti districts of Uttar Pradesh that witnessed some tense times after the VHP announced a 84-kosi parikrama, which was effectively foiled by the state government, are once again gearing for a showdown between the security forces and some sants and seers who intend to conclude the fortnight-long yatra at Makhauda on Friday morning.

The administration will seal the entry points to the two districts and deploy additional forces from Thursday to prevent the sants and Vishwa Hindu Parishad activists from entering Makhauda in Basti and Ayodhya.

The sants have announced to address a public meeting to mark the end of yatra that was started symbolically on August 25 for the demand of construction of Ram Temple at the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya. From Makhauda, the sants are scheduled to reach Ayodhya to offer prayers at Sitakund the same day.

Sharad Sharma, the VHP media in-charge in Faizabad, said that five senior sants will land at Lucknow airport Thursday morning and lead the yatra with seers of Chhattisgarh on Friday.

"Yatra was continuing since August 25. Nearly 90 sants of Orissa and Bihar were in Gonda today. Saints of Chhattisgarh will join yatra on Thursday and conclude it on Friday," he said.

The sants include former union minister and VHP margdarshak mandal member Swami Chinmayananda, Rameshwar Das Vaishnav, Swami Parmatamanand, Narain Giri and Swami Anubhutanand.

Officials of Faizabad and Basti district administrations and police reviewed the arrangements to stop sants from entering the districts and check any kind of disturbance in the next two days.

Faizabad District Magistrate Vipin Kumar Dwivedi said prohibitory orders are already in force as the state government had banned the yatra. Though the borders of the two districts would be sealed from Thursday midnight, the movement of common people would be allowed. All the schools and colleges will remain open.

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