VHP's stand on Ram Temple

Kumbh Nagar, Uttar Pradesh, Hindusthan -- 18 Jan 2001, 23:26 IST

KUMBHA NAGAR, January 18: PTI : Indicating its strategy over the Ayodhya issue, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Thursday said it would convince or even ''coerce'' the Vajpayee Government to give away the disputed land acquired by the Central Government in Ayodhya for construction of the Ram Temple.

On the eve of the Dharm Sansad(Religious Parliament), convened by the VHP(World Hindu Forum) to fix a date for starting construction of the temple, the leaders here said that to begin with the construction work would be taken up at the 'Shilanyas' (foundation) site in accordance with the programme given by the Dharmacharyas(Religious Gurus) and the Government would be persuaded to give the acquired land to the Ram Janmabhoomi Trust so that the Sanctum Sanctorum of the proposed temple could be built there.

If the Government did not accept their demand, the VHP leaders said they would 'coerce' it to do so through protests and demonstrations. Reacting to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's recent remark that committing similar acts could not right those medieval wrongs in the present, VHP president Vishnu Hari Dalmia said, ''the Prime Minister's statement is not binding on us.'' Admitting that the VHP move to go ahead with the construction of the temple could lead to confrontation with the government, Dalmia said,''we are prepared for the worst.''

Throwing light on the legal aspects of the issue, Justice Devaki Nandan Agarwal, senior VHP leader and retired judge of Allahabad High Court, said the disputed land was with the government only for managing it as a trustee and should be returned to the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas. He said as the Centre was not made the statutory receiver of the land by any court order, it could be forced to return the land by way of public opinion. ''There is no bar on the Centre to return the land to the Nyas,'' he added. To a query, Justice Agarwal said construction of the temple would not lead to contempt of court as only the matter relating to the title suit was sub-judice.

Dalmiya said the case pending in the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court was expected to take another ten to 15 years to be settled, going by the pace of proceedings.

In response to a question, he said the Ram Temple would be built in two to three years after the commencement of its construction. To another query, he said the issues of Kashi and Mathura shrines would also be raised after starting the construction work at Ayodhya.

When his attention was drawn to the Akhara Parishad's boycott of the three-day Dharm Sansad(Religious Parliament), the VHP president said,'' it does not matter who comes in the Sansad. What is more important is construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya.''

On the possibility of a negotiated settlement of the Ayodhya issue, Dalmiya said, ''we never refused to hold talks, but the attitude of the Muslim leaders in the past had always stalled such efforts.''

When asked if the Dharmacharyas(Religious Gurus) do not announce the date of construction of the Ram Temple during the Dharma Sansad, Dalmia said, ''they are our masters, we will accept whatever they say.''

He said the model of the proposed temple, which had been kept at the VHP camp in Kumbh Nagar, would be taken to Ayodhya after the conclusion of the month-long mela.

Earlier, the VHP released a document on the history of the Ram Janmabhoomi Movement, which gives the Parishad viewpoint on ''frequently asked questions'' on the issue. Besides Ayodhya, the Dharm Sansad would also deliberate on the issues of religious conversion, cow slaughter, swadeshi and cleanliness of the Ganga.

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