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Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

VHP dharma sabhas ask govt to fast-track temple construction

VHP tells NDA govt to bring in a law soon to start building the temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya

Temple politics took centre stage on Sunday with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) organizing “dharma sabhas" across seven locations, including in Ayodhya, and prodding the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government to take the ordinance route to fast-track the construction of a Ram mandir at the disputed site.

VHP members said religious leaders told the “dharma sabhas" that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) must fulfil its promise of constructing a temple in Ayodhya. In 1989, the BJP had passed a resolution in its national executive meeting in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, that the construction of a temple would be done through an Act of Parliament.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, spoke on the controversy over temple construction during an election speech, and blamed the Congress for delaying the proceedings in the Supreme Court on the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case. Speaking at a public meeting in Alwar, Rajasthan, Modi said Congress leaders in Rajya Sabha had told the Supreme Court not to hear the case because general elections were due in 2019.

“Is it correct to drag judiciary into politics? When the Supreme Court wants to listen to everyone in the case, Congress leaders in Rajya Sabha are trying to bring impeachment against the Supreme Court judges and threaten them," he said. Rajasthan is going to polls on 7 December. Modi is expected to hold at least 10 public meetings in the state.

The timing of the dharma sabha is interesting as it is happening just 11 days before the 26th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition. The disputed structure was demolished by right-wing workers on 6 December 1992.

“The Union government should listen to voices of these religious leaders who want the BJP to fulfil its commitment it made in 1989 by passing a resolution in the national executive meeting in Palampur. The government will have to act and bring a law in Parliament. Religious leaders believe that the Ram temple can only be constructed by an Act of Parliament," said Vinod Bansal, a VHP spokesperson.

The “dharma sabhas were organised in Guwahati, Shahjahanpur, Mangaluru, Nagpur, Hubli, Bengaluru, and Ayodhya. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat also took part in the gathering in Nagpur.

“Religious leaders are of the opinion that the SC will not take steps to resolve the issue or give a judgement anytime soon, so it was the duty of the government to take step and ensure construction of the temple," Bansal added.

VHP members said there will be no more dharma sabhas. “The meetings on Sunday were final."

To avoid any untoward incident, the Uttar Pradesh government deployed one additional director general of police, one deputy inspector general, three senior superintendents of police (SSPs), 10 additional SPs, 21 deputy SPs, 160 inspectors, 700 constables, 42 companies of PAC, five companies of RAF, ATS commandos and drones.

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