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HindustanTimes Fri,31 Oct 2014

Parikrama low-key as cops tail sadhus on Day 1

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Ayodhya, September 24, 2013
First Published: 09:44 IST(24/9/2013) | Last Updated: 09:48 IST(24/9/2013)

The controversial panch kosi parikrama, sponsored by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and featuring saints from south India, began in Ayodhya amid tight security on Monday.

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The Faizabad administration made it clear only south Indian saints were cleared for the pilgrimage on the traditional 15-kilometre-long track surrounding all the temples of Ayodhya.

So about 35 south Indian saints and their supporters performed the pilgrimage in the company of police and paramilitary forces.

They weren’t allowed to carry any flags or banners in keeping with the 14-point conditional clearance, which has banned the use of loud speakers, flags, banners, meetings, conferences along the parikrama route.

The police detained former MP Ramvilas Vedanti when he was trying to take out the parikarma from karsewakpuram.

The government claimed the district magistrate had requested the sadhus not to visit Ayodhya.

The district administration and the police also stopped Mahant Kamal Nayan Das (disciple of Mahant Nritya Gopal Das who is the president of Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas), along with former BJP MLA from Ayodhya Laloo Singh Chauhan from participating in the pilgrimage.

Though VHP and BJP leaders were prevented from moving out of the VHP stronghold -- karsewakpuram itself, there were no protests.

The VHP’s Ayodhya-based spokesman Sharad Sharma repeated the organisation was merely involved in arranging food and lodging of the saints.

“Beyond that we have no role in the parikrama. At the same time, I must say that the sight of police walking behind saints on the parikrama route wasn’t a happy one,” Sharma said.

The day one ended with a yagya.


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