The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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RSS raises heat to put temple on fast track

Bhopal, Sept. 14: The RSS today “politely appealed” to all to pave the way for construction of the Ram temple or face a “massive mobilisation of national will” a couple of months before the crucial Assembly elections to five states.

At a news conference here, RSS spokesman Ram Madhav smiled, cracked jokes, but behind the grin, there was a tough message for Atal Bihari Vajpayee and others, including the “Muslim brethren”: it is the responsibility of all concerned to see to it that the Ram temple is constructed fast. It implied that no legal or political hurdle should be created to prompt the Sangh to launch a nationwide “peaceful and constitutional” agitation.

Madhav offered a simple solution: “Work out a consensus on construction of the Ram temple. Bring a central legislation and live in peace.”

His comments came a day after a crucial “coordination meeting” in Delhi, in which the BJP’s L.K. Advani and M. Venkaiah Naidu discussed Gujarat, Ayodhya and Sangh-government coordination with senior RSS functionaries like Mohan Bhagwat and Madan Das Devi.

For the record, Madhav dismissed queries whether the Sangh move aimed to give fresh impetus to the temple agitation before polls in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram. “In our country, there are elections round the year. So there is no point in looking for a link between the Ram temple issue and Assembly or Lok Sabha polls,” he said.

The Sangh spokesman argued that if the Centre could bring together all parties to discuss the women’s reservation and cow slaughter bills, a similar “consensual exercise” should be undertaken for the temple. “Now that all historical, scientific and archaeological findings have confirmed the existence of a Ram temple in Aydhoya, there should be no delay.”

Admitting that there was a “perceptional difference of opinion” between the BJP and the VHP on temple construction, Madhav said all organisations affiliated to the Sangh, including the BJP, were one on the temple. “The BJP is ready to bring a legislation in Parliament.”

He added that the Sangh was not in the habit of “reining in” or “policing” one wing of the parivar or the other, but was solely guided by “national interest”.

A judicial settlement of the Ayodhya dispute was proving difficult as the judicial process was being lengthened by “vested interests”. He accused the Babri Masjid Action Committee of creating legal hurdles. “Now they are saying it is a title suit where archaeology has no place. It is an afterthought. All along, they kept insisting on presence of Muslim magistrates and workers in the ASI team,” he said.

The spokesman kept describing the RSS as a “cultural organisation” but went on to authoritatively comment on all spheres of governance, legislation, the WTO, Ariel Sharon’s visit and Kuka Parray’s killing.

In Digvijay Singh’s capital, key BJP strategists handling Uma Bharti’s campaign surrounded Madhav, who focused much of his attention on the chief minister, accusing him of being “anti-Hindu”.

Madhav said he was most upset by Digvijay’s accusation that the RSS cadre was “planting and making bombs”. The RSS being a “cultural organisation”, it was doing social work in “literacy and tribal welfare”, he added.

Digvijay’s accusation lacked evidence, he said. “In one case which is 10 years old, two persons were acquitted in 2000. The third one was missing in police records, though he was working as a school teacher,” he said, adding that the charges were “politically motivated” and aimed at maligning the Sangh.

He countered that in Rayalseema area of Andhra Pradesh, from where he comes, Congress activists are known to make bombs.

But he was evasive on the antecedents of nine persons booked for the murder of a Congress leader in Mhow district. “(The) RSS is a huge organisation. There are RSS members in the Congress party, too!”

He alleged that the local police were “coerced” into registering “false cases” against RSS workers and sympathisers at the behest of Digvijay.

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