July 7: Ashok Singhal rushed from Kanyakumari to Ayodhya today to build on the victory at Lucknow without wasting time, appealing to foot soldiers to be ready to use “force for the construction of the temple”.
“Force was used when Babar’s commander Mir Baqi demolished the temple and built the mosque. You must be ready to use force for the construction of the temple,” he told a gathering of VHP and Bajrang Dal activists in Lucknow.
In Delhi, the BJP rued the chance lost in pulling off a truce that could have been projected as the most stellar achievement of the Vajpayee government.
But in the heartland, the party’s voice was very much in tune with that of Singhal. Uttar Pradesh BJP chief and one of the leaders of the temple agitation, Vinay Katiyar, claimed that the excavations by the Archaeological Survey of India at Ayodhya amounted to laying the foundation of the temple. “The rest will be done by kar sevaks for whom I have a plan but will disclose it at an appropriate time,” he said.
The stated reason for Singhal’s dash to the north from the southern tip — where he attended an RSS conclave and kept track of the collapse of the Ayodhya initiative by the Kanchi Sankaracharya — was the illness of Ramjanmabhoomi trust chief Ramchandradas Paramhans. He was flown in and admitted to a hospital in Lucknow yesterday after a second heart attack in less than a month.
But from Lucknow, Singhal proceeded to Ayodhya, where he will consult sants on the course of the temple agitation. He described his Ayodhya tour as “routine”, but it comes close on the heels of a visit by another player in the dispute.
Syed Shahabuddin, a known hardliner of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, had visited Ayodhya on July 5 — a day before the board discussed the Kanchi seer’s proposals and rejected them in Lucknow. Shahabuddin held a meeting with Muslim leaders at the residence of Mohammed Hashim, the main plaintiff of the Ayodhya suits, and visited the area near which the ASI excavations are going on.
After calling on Paramhans, Singhal said the VHP was now more determined to build the temple on the disputed site.
“A meeting of the Sri Ram Janmabhoomi Andolan Mandir Nirman Uchchadhikar Samiti has been called in New Delhi on July 11 to decide on the Muslim community’s attempt to humiliate the Sankaracharya,” he said.
“We are not unhappy with the seer for sending a proposal to the All India Muslim Personal Law Board. But it would have been better if he had taken the VHP and other Hindu leaders into confidence before taking the initiative.”
Katiyar kept up the tempo, saying the VHP would defy the court verdict if it went against Hindus.