The Sunday Guardian - - The Big Story - CON­TIN­UED FROM P1

it to act fast on the mat­ter. Swami Satyami­tranand Giri has an­nounced that he would sac­ri­fice his body on 1 Jan­uary if a de­ci­sion was not taken by then. Giri is a for­mer Shankaracharya and com­mands tremen­dous sup­port among Hindu seers and saints.

An­other seer, Swami Paramhans Das of Ta­paswi Ch­h­wani Mandir of Ay­o­d­hya has said that he will com­mit sui­cide on 6 De­cem­ber if by 5 De­cem­ber Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and Ut­tar Pradesh Chief Min­is­ter Yogi Adityanath do not de­clare the date for build­ing the Ram tem­ple. A few other seers have also threat­ened to im­mo­late them­selves if the gov­ern­ment fails to bring an or­di­nance to this ef­fect.

“In­tezaar ki in­teha ho gayee (our pa­tience has been put on test),” Vishwa Hindu Par­ishad ( VHP) spokesper­son Vinod Bansal said while speak­ing to The Sun­day Guardian. “Much wa­ter has flown down Saryu river. Our pa­tience is run­ning out. We have waited for 500 years and have been fight­ing a court bat­tle since 1885. It is the mo­ral re­spon­si­bil­ity of the BJP to find ways to build a grand Ram tem­ple in Ay­o­d­hya. Now is the time to de­liver. They have the ma­jor­ity in Lok Sabha, UP Assem­bly and even at the pan­chayat level in the state. They so not have any ex­cuses to es­cape from this com­mit­ment.”

The VHP, which is spear­head­ing the tem­ple move­ment, along with Akhil Bharatiya Sant Samiti, will hold three mas­sive ral­lies on 25 Novem­ber in Ay­o­d­hya, Nag­pur and Ben­galuru, which will be fol­lowed by sev­eral state and district level meet­ings, in a bid to mo­bilise sup­port for the cause. Sub­se­quently, sev­eral del­e­ga­tions will meet all par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, seek­ing their sup­port to help move an or­di­nance on the is­sue. This will be fol­lowed by a mass move­ment in De­cem­ber and a mas­sive pub­lic rally in the na­tional cap­i­tal on 9 De­cem­ber.

From 18 De­cem­ber, which will be cel­e­brated as Geeta Jayanti, to 26 De­cem­ber, the VHP and the Sant Samiti will hold door-to-door cam­paign seek­ing peo­ple’s sup­port in build­ing the Ram tem­ple. Lead­ers of other faiths like Jain­ism, Bud­dhism, Sikhism and Arya Sa­maj will also be ap­proached re­quest­ing them to ex­tend their sup­port.

A Dharm Sansad (re­li­gious par­lia­ment) is be­ing planned on 31 Jan­uary and 1 Fe­bru­ary dur­ing the Kumbh Mela next year at Praya­graj (formerly known as Al­la­habad) in which the fu­ture course of ac­tion will be dis­cussed, in case the gov­ern­ment fails to bring in the or­di­nance by the time.

Asked whether the VHP and the Sant Samti had lost hope that the Cen­tre would do some­thing on the is­sue, VHP’s Vinod Bansal said, “We had full trust in the gov­ern­ment, but prob­a­bly the is­sue did not reach them. Also, we feel that the gov­ern­ment too was wait­ing for the Supreme Court ver­dict. We still feel that BJP peo­ple are ‘Ram Bhakts’. But now it has be­come clear that the op­po­nents to the is­sue will not let the court de­cide on the mat­ter. And there­fore, the gov­ern­ment will have to bring in an or­di­nance dur­ing the com­ing win­ter ses­sion. We are hope­ful that the move will get sup­port from the Op­po­si­tion par­ties as well. No party can win elec­tions by ig­nor­ing Lord Ram.”

BJP lead­ers are be­ing guarded while com­ment­ing on the mat­ter. Speak­ing to this news­pa­per, BJP na­tional spokesper­son G.V.L. Narasimha Rao said there was a strong “pub­lic sen­ti­ment” for build­ing a grand Ram tem­ple in Ay­o­d­hya. “There is a strong de­sire among mil­lions of Hin­dus for build­ing the tem­ple. They were hop­ing for an early court ver­dict on it. How­ever, the mat­ter has got de­layed fur­ther. There are sec­tions/ groups that want leg­isla­tive in­ter­ven­tion. The party is fully aware of the pub­lic sen­ti­ment. But as of now, any such in­ter­ven­tion is not im­mi­nent,” he said. Asked whether the party was un­der pres­sure, Rao said there was a strong “pub­lic sen­ti­ment”, which could re­sult in in­ter­ven­tion.

RSS ide­o­logue and Ra­jya Sabha mem­ber Rakesh Sinha said: “There is a ma­jor per­cep­tional shift on the Ay­o­d­hya is­sue. Ear­lier, the pseudo-sec­u­lar forces and also Mus­lim lead­ers per­ceived it as a ‘ma­jori­tar­ian ac­tion’, but now it is be­ing con­sid­ered as re­flec­tion of the ‘pro-Hindu sen­ti­ment’. This gives the tem­ple move­ment more op­ti­mism and pos­si­bil­ity to be ex­e­cuted at the ear­li­est. Now this shift has not been con­tested by Marx­ist and Nehru­vian schol­ars, who used to do so in the 1990s. There­fore, the Som­nath for­mula, as sug­gested by Mo­han Bhag­wat, be­comes a po­ten­tial re­al­ity in the case of Ram tem­ple. An­other shift is no less sig­nif­i­cant. The fo­cus has in­creas­ingly shifted from ju­di­ciary to the do­main of leg­is­la­ture. Pro-Babri Masjid schol­ars and apol­o­gists have their right to ex­press their ‘nor­ma­tive’ opin­ion, but they lack em­pir­i­cal ev­i­dence to sub­stan­ti­ate their nor­ma­tivism. As re­gards BJP, its 1989 po­si­tion re­mains un­changed. But a rul­ing party has var­i­ous di­men­sions to look into an is­sue.”

Sinha may move a pri­vate mem­ber’s bill in the Ra­jya Sabha de­mand­ing the con­struc­tion of a Ram tem­ple in Ay­o­d­hya.

Supreme Court lawyer Ashish Dixit said that it is not that the gov­ern­ment can­not bring in an or­di­nance on the is­sue. “There is noth­ing il­le­gal about it. Just be­cause the mat­ter is sub- ju­dice, will not be an im­ped­i­ment. There were in­stances in the past in this di­rec­tion. In the SC/ST case, the gov­ern­ment brought an or­di­nance af­ter the Supreme Court judge­ment. In the Ram Mandir case, the Supreme Court is yet to de­liver its ver­dict.”

The Supreme Court on 29 Oc­to­ber ad­journed the hear- ings in the Ay­o­d­hya dis­pute un­til Jan­uary next year. The Apex Court also said that it would de­cide in Jan­uary when the ac­tual hear­ing in the case would be­gin.

The win­ter ses­sion of Par­lia­ment is likely to start from the sec­ond week of De­cem­ber, just af­ter the Ra­jasthan Assem­bly elec­tions on 7 De­cem­ber. Sources said the dates of the ses­sion would be fi­nalised by the Cab­i­net Com­mit­tee on Po­lit­i­cal Af­fairs (CCPA), which is ex­pected to meet in the next fort­night. The ses­sion may end in the sec­ond week of Jan­uary.

The win­ter ses­sion as­sumes sig­nif­i­cance as an or­di­nance on the triple talaq bill is also on the Cen­tre’s leg­isla­tive agenda. The bill has al­ready been passed by the Lok Sabha. Be­sides, the or­di­nance on dis­band­ing the Med­i­cal Coun­cil of In­dia (MCI) is also on the gov­ern­ment’s agenda.


Preparations un­der­way for the 24th Kolkata In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, in Kolkata on Fri­day.

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