SP creating communal divide through VHP yatra ban: Mayawati

New Delhi/ Allahabad, Aug. 22 (ANI): Bahujan Samaj Party chief and former chief minister Mayawati accused the Akhilesh Yadav-led government in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday of communally dividing the state by banning the proposed yatra of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).

"I feel that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) have joined hands in the controversy about this procession. And, in the name of this controversy, these people want to create communal disharmony between Hindu and Muslim groups. They want Hindus and Muslims to fight each other for political advantage," she said.

VHP leaders termed the ban as a move by the Samajwadi Party to secure the Muslim vote bank.

VHP President Ashok Singhal said yatra was a religious and not a political one.

"Those parties which do not want the creation of the Ram Temple here, are tying to benefit in the forthcoming elections. These are the people who are playing a political game in the name of the birthplace of Ram. And, these are the people who call this procession political, saints are not politically inclined," he said.

Another VHP leader, Prakash Sharma, said no one can deny the rights of citizens to carry out religious processions in a secular democracy.

"This is an abuse of the rights of Hindu society. What kind of a democracy and what kind of secularism is this if we are not being given the authority to practice or follow our traditions? On the one hand, Hindu society and saints are being stopped from taking out the procession, and on the other hand, Muslims are being given reservation and loans. What kind of politics is being played?' he questioned.

A delegation of Hindu saints led by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) international president Ashok Singhal had met Mulayam Singh Yadav earlier on Saturday, and asked him to convince Muslim leaders, clerics and ulemas to pave way for the construction of the Ram Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya.

The saints had after the meeting which was also attended by Akhilesh Yadav claimed that the Samajwadi Party chief had accepted their request. They also said that they had asked Akhilesh Yadav to provide adequate support and security for the "Chaurasi Kosi Parikrama" (a religious march) in Ayodhya and adjoining districts beginning on August 25.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has vowed to kick off its 'Chaurasi Kosi Parikrama' around Ayodhya to revive its demand for a Ram temple.

The Samajwadi Party Government has banned the proposed Yatra, as a preemptive measure against communal flare-up, and put in place elaborate security arrangements by rushing in 10 companies of the Rapid Action Force (RSF) and 12 companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC). (ANI)

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