DEMAND RISING FOR BUILDING RAM TEMPLE
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.