The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
VHP threat to ‘reclaim’ 30000 shrines

New Delhi, March 10: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad today warned Muslims that it would launch a nationwide agitation for “reclamation” of the 30,000 temples that were “converted” into mosques if they do not “reconsider” their statements or “change their mindset” on the Ramjanmabhoomi issue.

“It is for Muslims to decide whether they want to be part of the process of cooperation or confrontation and agitation,” VHP leaders declared.

According to VHP leaders, getting back the Gyan Vapi mosque in Varanasi and the Idgah mosque in Mathura were as “important” as the Ram temple. The Kashi Vishwanath temple was demolished by Aurangzeb to build the mosque and the “proof” the VHP cites are carvings of Shiva and Parvati on its walls.

The Idgah mosque stands cheek by jowl with the Krishnajanmasthan temple. The VHP’s case is that Aurangzeb had not converted it into Waqf property and in the records kept by Maratha rulers and the British it was shown as “government” property.

VHP leaders Praveen Togadia and Acharya Giriraj Kishore referred to the criticism of Allahabad High Court’s order to excavate the Ayodhya site by some Muslim representatives as “unprecedented”.

Kishore also gave the example of the Bhojshala shrine in Madhya Pradesh and argued that by calling it Waqf property and getting the court to adjudicate its ownership, Muslims had “clearly” opted for the “confrontationist” path. The two were addressing the press on their return from the RSS’s Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha.

Togadia announced that on March 27, the VHP would launch its satyagraha in the capital to press for the “undisputed” land in Ayodhya to be handed over to its temple trust and Parliament to legislate a law on this. “The VHP proposes that a legal solution for the temple is the only solution,” he said, asking the Opposition to clarify its stand.

“The two main parties, the BJP and the Congress, have had the same stand for a long time, namely that the Ram temple issue can be resolved either through the court or talks,” he added.

Togadia said if Parliament could enact laws to overturn the judiciary’s ruling in the Shah Bano case and convert a centrally-administered university like Aligarh Muslim University into a “minority” institution, why could it not bring a law to allow a temple to be built in Ayodhya'

Sources said the VHP leader’s reference to the Shah Bano case and AMU was to give the outfit a “cushion”. It would come in handy, they said, if title suits being heard by the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court resulted in an “unfavourable” judgment or the Supreme Court refused to vacate its order banning religious activity even on the undisputed land in Ayodhya.

Togadia said the VHP was raising a one-crore “army” of Ram sevak satyagrahis who would converge in Delhi from March 27 in batches so that the “crowd would be manageable”.

Each round of satyagraha, he added, would be presided over by a “jagatguru”.

Email This Page