Leader of Opposition (Lok Sabha) Sushma Swaraj on Saturday rubbished that there was a fear of communal flare up at the proposal of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's (VHP) yatra, and said that yatras are within the fundamental rights of every Indian citizen.
"This charge is absolutely baseless. With regard to our responses, yatra is a fundamental right of every citizen. We have our right to movement, and the tension is not being created by the yatra, but by the statements of the parties. If they don't issue adverse statements, they will not be any tension because of this yatra," Swaraj said.
"He (Ashok Singhal) is not saying anything which will create tension. He is only saying that we will perform the yatra. That is what he is saying," she clarified.
Earlier today, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Jagdambika Pal alleged that VHP's proposed yatra was rooted in politics, rather than religion.
"I will tell the Samajwadi Party also that they should not make these paper horses feel like tigers. ... This yatra has no support or backing-people will not go. Will Ashok Singhal be able to walk 84 kilometers? Or far that matter, Togadia or Giriraj Kishore-will they be able to do the yatra? " Pal said.
"It is clear than in the 2014 elections, they are doing it to benefit the Bharatiya Janata Party," Pal added.
Terming the VHP initiative as a political yatra, Pal said that it is a baseless claim for the political party to claim that their case had any religious basis.
"It's not a religious yatra, it's a political yatra. It is not even the time for the yatra, that they are claiming to do. ... At this time, Lord Ram rests, after Ekadasi. I am from the neighborhood of Ayodhya. So, I feel that since Ayodhya is calm and none of the people from there are supporting this VHP yatra-you can enquire about the complete silence in Ayodhya-no one is supporting them, no supportive statements are coming forward, then it is clear that the VHP are the ones who are hell-bent on it and the Bharatiya Janata Party is making statements on it," Pal said.
Earlier, VHP President Ashok Singhal on August 22 had said that the yatra was 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.
A delegation of Hindu saints led by Vishwa Hindu Parishad ( VHP) international president Ashok Singhal had met Mulayam Singh Yadav on August17, 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)