A prominent Hindu seer, who has been on hunger strike here for the last eight days to persuade Prime Minister Narendra Modi to start building the Ram Temple, was arrested on the early hours Monday, an official said.
After arresting Das, the police picked up four more seers who tried to sit on hunger strike in place of Das, besides putting transgender leader Gulshan Bindu and supporters under house arrest, the official added.
Bindu and other transgender community members have extended support to Das demanding from Modi to take steps for an early construction of the temple in Ayodhya.
The arrests were preceded by a heavy, midnight deployment of police posse, which even resorted to cane charging to disperse the restive crowd of seers and their supporters, said eyewitnesses.
The police had earlier imposed prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC, anticipating law and order problems.
Priest Yugal Kishore Sharan Shastri of Sarju Kunj Temple told PTI that a heavy posse of policemen entered the premises of Tapaswi Chhawni Temple after disconnecting its power supply and charged cane on seers sitting on huger strike in support of Das.
When Das tried to oppose the "barbaric police action", he was dragged by the policemen to a waiting police van, which sped away from the spot, Mahant Shastri claimed.
The police decided to arrest the agitating seer and his supporters after the negotiations between the Uttar Pradesh government and Das failed, Shastri said, adding the government was pressurising Das to break his fast but failed to persuade him.
After Das' arrest, Faizabad City Superintendent of Police Anil Sisodia said the seer's condition was deteriorating and he has been admitted to Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGI), Lucknow.
Mahant Das, who started his fast on October 1 at Tapaswi Chhawni Temple, had announced that he would continue his fast unto death unless the Modi government starts building the temple or brings a resolution in Parliament for it.
In a statement to PTI earlier, Mahant hadsaid, "Modi has time till I am alive. I will not break my fast and will die unless the BJP and the Prime minister starts building Ram Temple."
He had said from a mere corporator to the President of India - presently all are from the BJP but they are not doing anything for Ram Mandir.
The Hindus have elected a BJP government only for the cause of Ram Janambhoomi, but the party is silent over the issue and not coming forward for its cause, which has made me decide to give my life," he had said.
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