UP govt in fix over seers' march to Ayodhya

UP govt in fix over seers' march to Ayodhya

People look at a model of a proposed Ram temple that Hindu groups want to build at a disputed religious site in Ayodhya. Reuters file photo

A large number of seers and saints would embark upon a march to Ayodhya on February 17 for the construction of the Ram temple putting the Uttar Pradesh's Yogi Adityanath government in a fix.

The seers, who would be led by Swami Swaroopananda Saraswati, the Shankaracharya of Dwarika Peeth, plan to reach Ayodhya on February 19 and lay the foundation for the temple on February 21.

"We will halt at Pratapgarh on February 17 and in Sultanpur on February 18...we will reach Ayodhya on February 19," said an aide of Swaroopananda in Pryagaraj on Monday.

He said that the seers would be accorded a grand welcome by the saints of Ayodhya and other disciples on the Janki Ghat, on the bank of the Saryu river in the temple town.

"It is like Satyagraha of Mahatma Gandhi...we have named it Ramagraha (request for building Ram Temple)," he said.

The aide said that the seers would not "back down" under any circumstances. "We will not do anything against the law...it will be a peaceful march...let the government stop us," he added.

The seers' decision has put the state government in a fix as it can not be seen to be obstructing the construction of the Ram temple.

"It is going to be a tricky situation for us...we can not use force against the seers as it will send a wrong message to our core vote bank," remarked a senior state BJP leader here.

A 'Param Dharm Sansad' (Religious Parliament) at Kumbh had recently declared that the Ram Temple construction would begin from February 21.

The 'Dharm Sansad', which was chaired by Swaroopananda had also accused the BJP-led Union government of "conspiring" to construct the Ram temple on a different land and not on the birthplace of Lord Rama.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad, which had also convened a 'Dharm Sansad' at Kumbh, decided to defer the Ram Temple agitation till the next Lok Sabha polls.