VHP invokes 1992 ghost, warns Hindus' patience thinning on Ram temple issue

Supporters participate in Dharam Sabha, being organised by the VHP to push for the construction of the Ram temple, in Ayodhya, on Sunday | Photo: PTI
An uneasy calm in Ayodhya was intermittently broken on Sunday morning by blaring of horns by SUVs sporting saffron flags and ferrying enthusiastic Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists to the temple town in Uttar Pradesh for a congregation to demand the early construction of a Ram temple.

The activists chanting pro-temple slogans arrived for VHP’s mass mobilisation programme “Viraat Dharma Sabha” from across 48 districts in eastern and central Uttar Pradesh.

During the day-long event featuring a motley group of seers apart from VHP leaders, the Parishad, which has been at the forefront of the movement, raised the bogey of the December 6, 1992 incident, when Babri Masjid was demolished by an overzealous crowd owing allegiance to different political and religious organisations.

VHP Vice-President Champat Rai warned the central government that the Hindu community would not settle for anything less that the entire swathe of the Ramjanmabhoomi site for the Ram temple. He maintained even the Muslim parties had conceded that if it was proven that a temple predated the demolished structure, they would forego their claims on the site. “Earlier, it was promised that the issue would be resolved by September 2018, but it was cleverly postponed indefinitely... how long would Hindus be expected to wait and show patience,” he said, asserting that the patience was fast running out.

Noted seer Rambhadracharya, who was awarded Padma Vibhushan in 2015, claimed that a “powerful union minister” had assured him that the Centre would take a decision after the model code of conduct in some states, owing to the assembly polls, is lifted — after December 11.

“He told me that the central government had decided to take a lasting decision on the matter before December 6, but it could not act as the model code of conduct kicked in,"

Rambhadracharya said without naming the minister, and asked the people to have patience till then. He even claimed that the Narendra Modi government had instructed its MPs to stay put in the national capital between December 11, 2018 and January 12, 2019, while obliquely hinting that the Centre might bring an Ordinance or legislation over the vexed issue, which the Supreme Court had said will be taken up in January 2019. Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas President Mahant Nritya Gopal Das noted that the enthusiasm of the crowd — which continued chanting “Jai Shri Ram”, even annoying the organisers at times — reflected the emotions of the people. He reposed faith in the Modi government for its commitment to the temple cause.

Although, the VHP had claimed it would mobilise almost 200,000 people for the event, the congregation was short of the figure and the venue in Ramghat Chauraha Parikrama Marg remained half empty. Some seers even flayed the judiciary for its delay on deciding on the temple matter, saying Ram was superior to judiciary and indefinite lingering of the issue would weaken people’s faith in the legal process and induce them to take law into their own hands.

On Saturday, Shiv Sena had organised a similar programme in Ayodhya.

Meanwhile, tension was palpable among the locals, particular Muslims, over the past few days in the run-up to the back-to-back Shiv Sena and VHP events, although the Yogi Adityanath government made elaborate security arrangements. Almost 70,000 cops were deployed across Ayodhya, including anti terror squad, police, PAC, RAF etc to thwart any attempt to disturb peace.

But both the events were organised peacefully, much to the relief of the local residents and the state government, although the Opposition parties flayed the state dispensation for allowing the flagrant violation of prohibitory orders in the high security zone of Ayodhya.

Meanwhile, within hours of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray putting the gauntlet around the neck of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over Ram temple, Chief Minister Adityanath cleared the ambitious Lord Ram statue project in Ayodhya.

At the proposed height of 221 metres, the statue would be the highest in the world and 38 metre taller than the current tallest ‘Statue of Unity’ dedicated to Sardar Patel in Gujarat, which was inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi last month. Adityanath reviewed statue designs on Saturday and selected a design that proposed a bronze statue measuring 151 metres standing on a pedestal of 50 metres and covered under an umbrella hood of another 20 metres, thus totalling 221 metres. The design depicts Ram holding a bow in left arm, while holding an arrow in his right arm.

Plan cleared for Ram’s statue — world’s tallest

UP CM Yogi Adityanath has cleared the ambitious Ram statue project in Ayodhya. At the proposed height of 221 metres, the statue would be the tallest in the world and 38 metre taller than the current tallest ‘Statue of Unity’ dedicated to Sardar Patel in Gujarat. He selected the statue design on Saturday.               


Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel