Senior Superintendent of Police Shalabh Mathur said the ascetics will be lodged for a while at the police lines in Agra. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), which has been spearheading the movement, said 200 ascetics from Rajasthan began their journey on Friday. So far, 64 of them have been arrested.

All borders have been sealed and vehicles are being screened to prevent people from undertaking the march, planned by the VHP to press for the resumption of religious activities at the contested Ayodhya site believed to be the birthplace of Lord Rama.

The local administration has imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, and asked people who have assembled for the march from August 22 to leave the area.

UP seeks help from neighbouring states


In the face of VHP's determination to go ahead with its proposed yatra, the UP government has sought help from neighbouring states in intelligence-sharing.
 
"Neighbouring states have been asked for intelligence sharing in wake of the proposed 84 kosi yatra of VHP on August 25," RK Vishwakarma, IG, Law and Order told reporters. He said that adequate force has been deployed in Ayodhya-Faizabad to check any untoward incident.
    
Asked if the borders of the district would be sealed, Vishwakarma said that decision would be taken depending on the situation but for now anyone can visit the city. "Only those going for the yatra will be stopped," he said, however, did not elaborate how they would identify such people.

Heavy deployment of security personnel in Faizabad
    
The officer said besides 13 companies of PAC and three company of RAF, two Superintendent of Police (SP), 19 Additional SPs, 42 Deputy SPs, 135 inspectors, 430 sub inspectors and 1,300 constables have been deployed in Faizabad.

The yatra has six districts in its route-- Faizabad, Basti, Barabanki, Gonda, Bahraich and Ambedkar Nagar. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav met legislators of Faizabad and adjoining districts and took stock of the situation there.
    
The legislators were asked by Yadav to keep an eye on the situation and apprise the party and him about the ongoing developments in the area.
    
The VHP plans to keep the yatra going till September 13 to push for Ram temple at the disputed site. Its leaders have also reportedly chalked out a plan to defy security arrangements and reach the venue by Sunday from where the yatra is scheduled to begin.

Meanwhile, the Faizabad district administration issued arrest warrants against 70 prominent VHP leaders of national level and state level. The local administration is expecting about 40,000-50,000 VHP activists to take part in the Parikrama.
    
According to police sources, till now they have nabbed twenty VHP activists, however some senior leaders including Ram Vilas Vedanti have gone underground. The VHP has proposed to take out Chaurasi Kosi Parikrama yatra between August 25 to September 13 to push for Ram temple at the disputed site.
    
However, the state government has not given permission for the programme.

(JPN/Agencies)

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