Ayodhya monk claims temple-law pledge by minister
A monk from Chitrakoot known to brag about his proximity to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday appealed to Ram bhakts for patience, telling them he had an assurance the Centre would take concrete steps between December 11 and January 12 to build a temple in Ayodhya.
“I had telephoned a Union minister who is next only to Modi in the central government at 8pm on November 23. I reacted against the delay in constructing the Ram temple. He told me to tell the bhakts of Lord Ram that the Modi government would bring in an ordinance or enact a law in Parliament to pave the way for the temple between December 11, 2018, and January 12, 2019. He said nobody under the sun would be able to shift this date,” Giridhar Mishra aka Swami Rambhadracharya said.
The Supreme Court is to take up the Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi dispute in the first week of January to fix a date for the hearing.
Rambhadracharya, 68, said the minister had told him that the model code of conduct would be in force till December 11, when votes cast in three Assembly elections would be counted.
“I want to ask the supporters of the Ram temple to give the BJP and the Centre time till January 12 before taking a decision about the next parliamentary elections,” he said, speaking at the Dharma Sabha the Vishwa Hindu Parishad had organised in Ayodhya to press its demand for a temple.
The BJP refused to comment on the claim. But a party leader said in confidence: “The government will take a call on bringing in a law or ordinance at an appropriate time.”
There were fears that the VHP had a plan for the temple that would be executed during Sunday’s Sabha, but it passed peacefully. Speakers iterated that the Supreme Court should prioritise the Ayodhya case and that if it did not, the Centre should enact a law to build the temple.
Modi alleged on Sunday that the Congress had threatened Supreme Court judges with impeachment when they tried to hear the Ayodhya dispute this year.
The swami, who had lost his eyesight when he was an infant but founded the Tulsi Peeth and the Jagadguru Rambhadracharya Handicapped University, Chitrakoot, of which he is the lifelong chancellor, reminded the audience twice in his 15-minute speech that he was a recipient of the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian honour after the Bharat Ratna.
“I was given the Padma Vibhushan not because of my closeness with the Prime Minister; I got it because of my talent. The people in the government cannot mislead me,” he said, trying to send the message that his claim was credible.
The VHP had claimed there would be over one lakh people from 48 districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh at the rally but half the Bada Bhaktmall Ki Bagiya ground, which can accommodate about one lakh people, was empty.
Most of the speakers and the crowd in general appeared angry with the Supreme Court for not speeding up the Ayodhya case.
Some criticised the top court and threatened the Muslim side, asking it to withdraw its claim over the disputed 2.77-acre plot.
The crowd raised crude slogans while cheering the sadhus who were addressing them. One of the less abusive slogans was: “Tel laga ke Dabur ka, Naam mita do Babar ka (Apply the oil of Dabur, erase the name of Babar).”
Parmanandacharya Saraswati, a monk from Vrindavan in Mathura who presided over the rally, said: “We are sadhus and should give the last chance to those who are claiming their right over the land (the Muslim side). They can live peacefully after giving the land to the VHP. But we will wage a battle against them if they don’t accept our request.”
The Nirmohi Akhara, which is fighting the Ayodhya title suit in court and has its biggest seat in Ayodhya, stayed away from the VHP rally.