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Since 1st March, 1999
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Bribe to feast, Sangh sniffs Ayodhya plot

New Delhi, June 16: Stung by the Centre’s decision to keep it out of a negotiated settlement to the Ayodhya dispute, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad today accused the government of bartering away the Ram temple to make “peace” with “jihadi forces”.

The Sangh outfit’s triumvirate of Ashok Singhal, Acharya Giriraj Kishore and Praveen Togadia addressed the press today and spewed vitriol, not sparing the Prime Minister and his deputy, though indirectly.

The reaction came a week after the Kanchi Sankaracharya, Swami Jayendra Saraswati, who is the Centre’s unofficial mediator with Muslim representatives, publicly said a solution was in the offing.

An agitated Singhal said: “I urge the people of India to see how those who occupy seats of power are playing around with their sentiments. People should give them a fitting answer in a democratic way.”

He then demanded to know which Central representative spoke to Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid, and the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board. Bukhari had disclosed that the Sankaracharya recently approached him for “secret” talks.

“Is the state kowtowing before jihadi forces' People have a right to know and the Centre should clarify, so that they can take a considered opinion on the Ram temple,” Singhal said.

Next, Singhal accused the government of offering a bribe of Rs 50 crore to a board member. Asked about the basis of the charge, Togadia said: “Why does someone resign and then withdraw it after a week' Is there some horsetrading or not'”

He was referring to board vice-president Maulana Kalbe-Sadiq’s recent resignation — which he withdrew yesterday — over the organisation’s refusal to keep doors open for negotiations.

According to Singhal, even the Sankaracharya was being “kept in the dark about many important things” by the Centre. “The government has made him a tool and he, too, has realised that. I spoke to him and he said he had no idea what was going on in the government.”

Singhal trashed the Centre’s reported “formula” of the VHP giving up its claim on Kashi and Mathura shrines in exchange for the Ayodhya land, and restoring several mosques — in the care of the Archaeological Survey of India — to Muslims.

He likened it to a “fine feast of halwa, puri and kheer, which was unfortunately served in a commode and, therefore, not to be touched even by a dog”.

Claiming that the Sankaracharya agreed Kashi and Mathura were not negotiable, Singhal said: “The self-respect of Hindus cannot be bartered away.”

The VHP appeared to be sending a veiled message to the Sankaracharya not to strike a deal. “The Sankaracharya won’t fall into this saudebaazi (wheeling-dealing) trap. He respects the feelings of Hindus and unless he talks to the entire sant samaj, he will not move an inch,” Singhal said.

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