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Ardh Kumbh call for march against govt

An order of monks appeared to offer Modi an escape route: issue an ordinance to pave way for a temple in 24 days, else visit Ayodhya and apologise
A sadhu at a make-shift Kumbh Mela camp at Sangam on Sunday.
A sadhu at a make-shift Kumbh Mela camp at Sangam on Sunday.

Piyush Srivastava   |   Lucknow   |   Published 03.02.19, 08:58 PM

Some 400 sadhus gathered at the Ardh Kumbh have appealed to voters to oust Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “cheating” Ram by failing to build a temple to him at Ayodhya.

Saturday evening’s meeting at the camp of the Digambar Akhara, a leading order of monks, appeared to offer Modi an escape route: issue an ordinance to pave the way for a temple in 24 days (a land suit is pending with the Supreme Court). Else, visit Ayodhya and publicly apologise.

“Modi might well remain silent or resort to gimmicks to fool Hindus for their votes,” Computer Baba, an Indore-based Digambar Akhara monk who presided over the meeting, told reporters.

“We’ll prevent this by marching to Ayodhya from the beginning of Chaitra Navaratra (April 6) and start a dharna there to make people aware how the present government has cheated them.”

Computer Baba (Swami Namdev Das Tyagi) had last year threatened a march against corruption in Madhya Pradesh, prompting a shaken Shivraj Singh Chouhan regime to appoint him and four other monks as advisers with the status of ministers of state.

He got his moniker thanks to his claim of possessing “a computer-like brain” and his love of the latest gadgetry that adorn his ashram, along with a helicopter.

The Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math, Swaroopanand Saraswati, has already put the government in a fix by declaring that sadhus will march to Ayodhya from February 10 and that he would lay the foundation stone for a Ram temple at the disputed site on February 21.

“Perhaps the Modi and Yogi Adityanath governments can stop the sadhus on their way to Ayodhya and arrest them, but that will make them appear ‘anti-Hindu’,” said Panchanan Giri, a sadhu from the Juna Akhara.

“Ram Lalla taat mein, neta thhat mein (Lord Ram lives in a tent, the big leader lives in style),” the monks chanted at Saturday’s meeting, titled the “Mann Ki Baat of Sadhus” in a dig at the Prime Minister, whose monthly radio broadcast is called Mann Ki Baat.

An idol of the infant Ram stands at the disputed site under a canvas tent.

“We brought Modi to power with a thunderous majority in 2014 because he had promised a Ram temple in Ayodhya soon,” Computer Baba told the meeting.

“But he wouldn’t even mention the Ram temple after assuming power. This amounts to cheating Lord Ram. We’ll work to replace him.”

Radha Mata, a Russian woman who has turned a sadhvi, said: “Even people in foreign countries know the politics behind this issue and want a temple soon.”

The sadhus passed resolutions asking the government to ban cow slaughter across India and facilitate “uninterrupted flow of the Ganga and the Yamuna”. 

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