Right-wing Hindu organisation, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) said that demonstrations would be held across the country on Monday to protest against the ban on its 'Chaurasi Kosi Parikrama Yatra' (pilgrimage) in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh (UP). This comes after the state government foiled, on Sunday, the proposed 'yatra' of the VHP demanding a Ram Temple in . Top VHP leaders Pravin Togadia and Ashok Singhal were rounded up after a massive crackdown by the administration which sought to enforce its ban.
The government of Uttar Pradesh had earlier banned the controversial 'yatra' which was seen as an attempt to revive the demand for the Ram temple at the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi - Babri Masjid site.
The VHP had said, they would defy the ban and hold the 'yatra,' which it claimed was a religious event. It accused the state government of trying to appease the Muslim minority by banning the 'yatra.'
After his arrest, VHP leaders Pravin Togadia told the media that, nation-wide protests will be held on Monday against the UP government ban.
"This is not a political yatra but a religious one and ban or oppression resorted to by the government would not be tolerated at any cost," he is reported to have told the media.
"This movement would reach each and every village of the country and tomorrow protest dharnas (sit-ins) would be staged at district headquarters all over the country," he is reported to have said.
Amid high drama on Sunday, the state government cracked down on the VHP and arrested its leaders and activities as they tried to defy administration orders against assembly. The police raided locations across the city and state to round up VHP leaders.
Based on the ideology of Hindutva, the VHP is a Hindu organisation associated with the 'Sangh Parivar'. An umbrella of Hindu nationalist organisations, the 'Sangh Parivar' includes the centre-right Indian political party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the cultural organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The BJP which is also the main political opposition in the country had on Wednesday criticised the state government for banning the VHP 'yatra.'
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