Members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal were taken into preventive custody by the Hyderabad police when they staged road block at a few places on Thursday, demanding the government to withdraw the externment order against pontiff Swami Paripoornananda Saraswati of Sri Peetham (Kakinada).

They demanded that the ban be lifted unconditionally and the police take stringent action against film critic Kathi Mahesh and a regional news channel.

Bharatiya Janata Party legislators NVSS Prabhakar, Raja Singh, N. Ramchander Rao, VHP State president M. Rama Raju and several others were also taken into custody. Protests were staged at various places including Koti, RTC crossroads, Saidabad, Lal Darwaza, Bhoiguda, Nacharam and the protesters, who were raising slogans and holding placards against the government’s move on externment of the Swami, were taken away by the cops for disturbing vehicular movements.

“As many as 565 persons were taken into preventive custody for staging protests on road,” said Hyderabad Commissioner of Police Anjani Kumar.

“Externment against Swamiji is an ‘anti-Hindu practice’ and an insult to the Hindu community,” alleged VHP president Rama Raju, adding that the police must take stringent action against Kathi Mahesh and ban the Telugu news channel for telecasting debates.

Mr. Rama Raju, who was shifted to Afzalgunj police station along with MLA Raja Singh, stated that protests were staged at more than 120 places across the State and at nearly 30 places in the city.

Meanwhile, Uppal legislator NVSS Prabhakar demanded the government lift the ban and the Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao welcome Swami. “It’s not fair to ban Swamiji from the city, the government is hurting the sentiments of Hindus,” he said.

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