The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Temple threat

Chennai, Jan. 4: Accusing Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee of avoiding the Ram temple issue, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad today reiterated its veiled threat to the Centre to hand over the “undisputed” land in Ayodhya before February 21.

Addressing a news conference, VHP international vice-president S. Vedantam said there has been no change in its “deadline” to the Centre to return the “undisputed” land to the Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas or face the “democratic action” to be decided by the dharam sansad that will meet in Delhi for four days from February 21.

Vedantam stated that if their demand was not acceded by that date, “whatever the sants decide, we will simply follow”. “Anything can happen then,” he cautioned. The sadhus and sants will decide the future course of action by democratic means, he said.

Asked what the VHP felt about the Prime Minister’s desire to resolve the temple-mosque issue amicably along with other major issues before the end of his term, Vedantam said Vajpayee “is avoiding the issue”. The NDA’s National Agenda for Governance should not come in the way of temple construction, he felt.

Vedantam ignored Kanchi Sankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati’s plea that bodies like the VHP should keep off the issue as the seer has taken it upon himself to thrash out an amicable solution by initiating talks among the Muslims and Hindus of Ayodhya. “If nothing happens what can we do'” he asked.

The VHP has been taking a “moderate stance” as the Supreme Court has said the undisputed land in Ayodhya could be returned to the trust, which has committed itself to the construction of a temple. “If the government wants, they can settle this issue,” he added.

Accompanied by VHP youth wing president R.R. Gopaljee, he announced that the parishad was planning to hold its first two-day youth conference in Tiruchirapalli from February 8. Besides VHP leaders like Ashok Singhal and Praveen Togadia, the Kanchi Sankaracharya would participate in the meet, Gopaljee said.

The conclave will kick-start a “non-political movement” —Hindu Ilaignar Iyakkam (Hindu Youth Movement) — headed by Gopaljee and organised the Tamil Nadu VHP youth wing.

It will reach out to the grassroots level and set up “youth fora” to instil discipline and social orientation in the minds of the young, said Gopaljee. Development of the personality, both physical and mental, training for self-employment, setting up of single-teacher primary schools, campaign against cow slaughter and upkeep of temples would be the thrust areas of the movement. The youth would also be made to “understand” the “unique Hindu culture and philosophy” of India.

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