LUCKNOW: Vishwa Hindu Parishad's leader Praveen Togadia was on Sunday taken into preventive custody by the Uttar Pradesh police ahead of the controversial yatra in Ayodhya, CNN IBN reports.
The arrest came as the Hindu rightwing organisation decided to defy the state government's ban on the Kosi yatra fearing it will trigger communal disharmony.
Shortly after Togadia's arrest, VHP president Ashok Singhal was detained at the Lucknow airport on landing and was asked to return to New Delhi.
The Uttar Pradesh police earlier arrested hundreds of saints and VHP activists as they tried to march towards Ayodhya for the proposed '84 kosi parikrama' (procession).
Police officers said 46 saints were arrested in Kanpur while 42 were nabbed in Agra.
Security and checking at the borders of Uttar Pradesh with Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar and Chhattisgarh were stepped up. In all, 339 saints have so far been held from Agra, Jhansi, Kanpur, Banda, Fatehpur, Basti and other districts, home department officials told IANS.
Additional security forces were sent to Ayodhya, Ambedkarnagar and Gonda, police officials said. Saturday, only 80 percent of state roadways bus fleet plied on the Faizabad route where more than 52 check points and barriers were erected. (With inputs from agencies)