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Heater for idol in Ayodhya

The Uttar Pradesh government has installed an electric room heater in the makeshift Ram temple in Ayodhya on a request from the Vishwa Hindu Paishad to protect the idol from the cold.

Piyush Srivastava   |   Lucknow   |   Published 25.12.17, 12:00 AM

Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government has installed an electric room heater in the makeshift Ram temple in Ayodhya on a request from the Vishwa Hindu Paishad to protect the idol from the cold.

Acharya Satyendra Das, chief priest of the controversial canvas-tent shrine, told reporters that divisional commissioner Manoj Kumar Mishra had provided the blower heater on Saturday.

"A new tent was pitched recently to protect the temple as the older one was in tatters. Installing a heater had become necessary to keep the place warm at a time night temperatures have been dropping to 4 or 5 degrees," Das said.

Sharad Sharma, a VHP official, said: "We thank the district administration for providing the heater."

Last summer, the administration had provided an air cooler to the temple.

The temple has idols of Ram Lalla Virajman (infant Ram), Sita and Lakshman. Some Hindu monks had installed the Ram idol clandestinely inside the now-demolished Babri Masjid in 1949.

The divisional commissioner was appointed "receiver" of the temple when Hindu and Muslim plaintiffs started a title suit in the 1950s claiming ownership of the 2.77-acre plot. The case is now before the Supreme Court, which will begin hearings on February 8.

According to the Hindu side, Ram was born at the site and a temple to him existed there, but Mughal emperor Babur demolished it and built a mosque in the 1520s. A VHP-backed mob demolished the mosque in 1992.

Ram Lalla Virajman is one of the parties to the case, along with the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board and the Nirmohi Akhara. A Hindu Mahasabha leader initially represented Ram Lalla. Presently, Triloki Nath Pandey of the VHP represents the infant god.

Statue plan shelved

The Yogi Adityanath government has shelved its plan to install a huge Ram statue on the Saryu's banks in Ayodhya for now after some local monks raised objections, Das said.

"According to tradition, there cannot be a Ram idol without a Sita idol beside it. Some sadhus pointed this out when the chief minister discussed the plan with them earlier this month," he said.



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