In a crackdown on VHP on the eve of its controversial yatra, 339 people including a BJP MLA have been taken into custody or placed under house arrest by the UP government, even as the outfit on Saturday vowed to go ahead with the march defying a ban.
BJP MLA Savitri Bai Phule in Bahraich and VHP's provincial coordinator Acharya Kushmuni were placed under house arrest as a precautionary measure.
Santosh Baba alias Sattu Baba, provincial coordinator of VHP Acharya Kushmuni, district level office bearer Acharya Shantanu and Pawan Srivastava were put under house arrest in Varanasi, a senior police official said.
In Amethi, 'peethdheshwar' of Sagra Ashram Abhay Chaitanya Mauni Mahraj was also put under house arrest.
The preventive arrests were made by the authorities, who are fearing communal flare up in the area due to the VHP's proposed 'Chaurasi Kosi Parikrama', which was banned by the state government.
The ban was on Saturday upheld by the Allahabad high court also.
Meanwhile, the VHP, which held a meeting after the high court verdict earlier this morning, has resolved to go ahead with the yatra at the scheduled time from Sunday.
"There is no change in the programme and it will start as per the schedule from the Saryu ghat tomorrow after the puja archana," VHP spokesman Sharad Sharma told PTI.
The arrests were made in different parts of the state.
75 persons were arrested in Faizabad, 46 in Agra, 100 from Kanpur city, 17 in Fatehpur, 18 from Basti, 7 in Jaunpur, 35 in Kanpur Dehat and 43 in Allahabad, home department spokesman said in Lucknow.
Elaborate arrangements have been made throughout the state, specially in the six districts through which the yatra would pass, with section 144 being put into force.
Other district authorities have also been asked to take steps so that law and order is not disturbed.
Principal secretary (home), RM Srivastava held video conference with police officers of the six districts and took stock of the situation, besides giving them directives to maintain utmost vigil in their areas and accord required respect to those who are being arrested as a precautionary measure.
DGP Devraj Nagar said that officials of the six districts have been asked to "strongly impose the ban" on the yatra.
"The DGPs of the adjoining states have been asked to inform in case people from there try to come to take part in this yatra," Nagar said adding that intelligence units and other agencies have been instructed to promptly inform in case of any wrong activity in their areas.