Consensus eludes saints in Ayodhya over Ram temple

A wooden model of the 'proposed Ram temple' in a glass encasement, at the Ram Janmabhomi Nyas-run workshop at Karsevakpuram in Ayodhya, on Nov 12, 2018. PTI photo

The saint community in Ayodhya, though want a grand Ram temple on what they believe is the birth place of Lord Rama, differ sharply on how to go about it.

While many, especially those associated with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) prefer a legislative route, others want to resolve the issue either through mutual negotiations or through a court verdict.

Another section of the saints in the temple town, though supports enactment of a law for the construction of the Ram temple, does not want to be seen siding with the VHP.

They claim that the VHP is only trying to ''politicise'' the issue and does not want a temple.

''Why is it that the BJP has started talking about the Ram temple four and half years after coming to power? Why did prime minister Narendra Modi not visit Ayodhya even once during this period,'' asks Mahant Janmejaya Sharan, who was the president of the committee formed to resolve the issue through compromise.

Sharan said that he was still hopeful of a negotiation for settling the issue.

''We have not lost hopes. We feel that only a negotiated settlement of the matter will be long lasting,'' he remarked while speaking to DH.

Satyendra Das, the chief priest of the makeshift Ram temple, also echoes similar sentiments.

''The VHP speaks the language of the BJP. Its agenda is political, it wants to keep the issue on the boil till the 2019 general elections,'' Das told DH.

He rued that Ram Lalla continued to remain in the tent though the BJP had promised that it would get a Ram temple constructed in Ayodhya if it came to power.

Some saints felt that the VHP was trying to ''hijack'' the issue and was projecting itself to be the lone agitator for the Ram temple.

These seers either want the supreme court to expedite the hearing or making a law for the Ram temple but viewed the VHP with suspicion.

Former All India Akhara Parishad (AIAP) Mahant, Dharam Das wants daily hearing of the matter in the supreme court and plans to meet President Ramnath Kovind to urge him to intervene.

Prominent Ayodhya based seer Mahant Parmahans Das accused the VHP of not being ''sincere'' about the Ram temple.

''BJP does not want the Ram temple. It only wants to use the issue for electoral gains in 2019,'' the mahant said.

Das, who had embarked on an indefinite fast to press his demand for the temple, had been forcibly removed by the police in the dead of night last month and admitted to the hospital.

He has again threatened to embark on a fast unto death.

VHP affiliated seers, however, remain adamant and plan to re-launch the Ram temple movement on the lines of the one in 1992.

''We will force the government to accept our demand. We want a law for Ram temple,'' said a seer, associated with the VHP.

With different voices emanating from within the BJP on the VHP's plan and the support of the RSS to the temple agitation, the issue appears certain to acquire centre stage in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

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Consensus eludes saints in Ayodhya over Ram temple

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