Uttar Pradesh government on Monday released 958 VHP workers including its leader Ashok Singhal while shifting Pravin Togadia and some others from Faizabad to Etah, a day after they were taken into custody for taking out a yatra from Ayodhya defying a ban.
"VHP leader Ashok Singhal has been released after finding no threat for peace from him.... He has left for New Delhi", secretary, home, Sarvesh told reporters in Lucknow.
The development came soon after the Allahabad high court directed the UP government to release Singhal, Togadia and Jagatguru Rambhadracharya in case they have been detained beyond 24 hours on apprehension of breach of peace in violation of law.
However, the official refused to reply to queries on whether the decision was prompted by the High Court order.
He said that of the total 2,454 arrested VHP workers, 958 have been released from different districts after assessment was made in his regard by respective district magistrates.
Asked about other VHP leaders, he said that Togadia, former MP Ram Vilas Vedanti and former MLA Lallu Singh had been shifted to Etah from Faizabad and have not been released till now.
"They and other VHP workers will be released when there will be no threat for peace from them," he said.
Togadia was arrested on Sunday from the banks of river Saryu in Ayodhya from where the Chaurasi Kos Prakrama was to begin, while Singhal was taken into custody at Lucknow airport when he arrived from Delhi.
IG law and order RK Vishwakarma said that VHP held protests in Kanpur, Auraiya, Lucknow, Barabanki, Ghazipur, Bulandshahr, Jhansi, Aligarh besdies other district and there was no untoward incident.
About security arrangements, Vishwakarma said that borders of Ayodhya will remain sealed till further orders.
Earlier in the day, the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad high court directed the state government to release VHP leaders Rambhadracharya, Singhal and Togadia in case they have been detained in violation of section 151 (2) of the CrPC .
A division bench comprising justices Imtiyaz Murtaza and Devendra Kumar Upadhaya passed this order on a habeas corpus petition filed on behalf of the three through a local counsel Ranjana Agnihotri.
"In case the petitioners are detained in violation of section 151 (2) of the CrPC, they shall be released forthwith", the court had directed.
Under this section, a person cannot be detained beyond 24 hours in case of apprehension of breach of peace unless he is required in some other offence.