The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Temple builders threaten ’92 rerun

New Delhi, Sept. 15: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has told the Centre it should convene a special Parliament session before October 15 to enact a legislation to hand over the undisputed Ayodhya land to the Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas or risk a replay of December 6, 1992.

It has threatened that if the deadline is not honoured, Ram bhakts will march to Ayodhya on October 15 and 17 and pledge to build a temple on the birthplace of Ram, even though the ownership of the land is yet to be settled by the courts.

A recent Supreme Court verdict had held that status quo has to be maintained on both the disputed and the undisputed parts of the land and a case is continuing in the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court.

Today’s ultimatum was served by the high-powered Shri Ramjanmabhoomi Mandir Nirmaan Ucchadhikar Samiti.

The ideological and political differences among committee members came to the fore when the Samiti chairman Mahant Avaidyanath of the Gorakhpeeth path and VHP working president Ashok Singhal spoke in different voices.

Former BJP MP Avaidyanath was more strident, saying: “If the government does not call a special session by the deadline we have set, we will have an andolan in Delhi and Lucknow simultaneously and then march to Ayodhya. We will demonstrate the might of Hindus again like we had on December 6, 1992. It is not a question of just a Ram temple because there are Ram temples in Ayodhya and another one can be built anywhere. It is a question of reclaiming his birthplace because there is only one birthplace, not two or three.”

At this point, Singhal, normally considered a hardliner, stepped in to clarify that the agitation would be “peaceful”, as the RSS wants.

“I wish to clarify that the andolan will be peaceful and constitutional. When Mahantji used the 1992 precedent, it was just to say that there will be a similarly large congregation. Nothing more should be read into it.”

To underline the “peaceful” nature of the programme, Singhal said it was not “kar sevaks” who would be travelling to Ayodhya, but Ram bhakts. “Kar sevaks are for construction, Ram bhakts are for prayers,” he clarified.

The VHP leader later said his activists would be asked to travel by train or bus and in small groups even though the agitation was dubbed a “kooch (march)”.

The idea is to get around any prohibitory orders that the Uttar Pradesh government might clamp along the Lucknow-Ayodhya route.

He added that the bhakts would be told to visit the Ram Lalla temple in “single file” and not create a law and order problem.

But Singhal made it clear that the VHP’s response would depend on the actions of chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, who had thwarted attempts to besiege the Babri Masjid in 1990 by ordering police to fire on kar sevaks.

“Mulayam burst on the scene all of a sudden but the dates for our andolan had already been fixed. The last time his police fired on unarmed persons. Let us hope he won’t do it again because his government is a fledgling one,” he said.

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