The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bhojshala trap for Centre

Bhopal, Feb. 21: In a move blessed by Sonia Gandhi, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh today recommended to the Centre that the doors of the disputed Bhojshala be thrown open to Hindus once a week minus the right to perform puja.

The suggestion to allow the majority community entry into the shrine every Tuesday — on a par with a similar concession to Muslims every Friday — comes a day after three persons were done to death in communal violence in Jhabua. Digvijay also released a seven-point formula based on an inter-community agreement thrashed out in 1995.

Digvijay’s decision is fraught with legal tangles that the Union culture ministry and the Archaeological Survey of India will have to grapple with. But he washed his hands of the matter, asking central forces and ASI officials to man the 11th century monument.

The Congress move has foxed its rivals and robbed them of an emotive poll plank ahead of the November elections. “The Sangh is hell bent on dividing the country on communal lines. Let us see how they succeed in Madhya Pradesh,” Digvijay said.

The saffron brigade was split in its reaction. While the state BJP leadership hailed it as a victory, the Hindu Jagran Manch dubbed it a case of too little too late.

“The MP government has no locus standi. The ASI should decide on the basis of feelings and faith of the people of Dhar. The formula is a childish act by Digvijay Singh,” manch convener Radheshayam Yadav said.

But the BJP’s Uma Bharti termed the move “a victory for the masses”.

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