Prepare for Ram Temple construction: Yogi

Yogi Adityanath. PTI/FILE

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Friday stirred a controversy after he asked people to start preparations for the construction of a "grand" Ram Temple at Ayodhya.

This comes even as RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has made remarks demanding for a law to pave the way for the temple's construction, evoking diametrically opposite reactions in the temple town from Hindu seers and Muslim leaders and clerics.

Adityanath's remarks came while addressing a gathering on the occasion of Dussehra in his home town of Gorakhpur in the presence of seers and saints.

"We should start preparation for the construction of a grand Ram Temple just as we prepare for the enactment of Ramlila (dramatic enactment of deeds of Lord Rama)," he said.

Adityanath's remarks assumed significance as they came barely a day after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat demanded a law for the Ram Temple construction.

While the Hindu seers and saints welcomed the demand, the Muslim leaders made it clear that they would only accept the Supreme Court verdict in the matter.

"Mohan Bhagwat's remarks reflect the sentiments of the Hindu community... the central government must enact a law for the construction of the Ram Temple," said Ram Janambhoomi Trust chairman Mahant Nritya Gopal Das in Ayodhya.

Mahant Dharam Das, a Hindu plaintiff in the Ram Janambhoomi Babri Masjid title suits, echoed similar sentiments.

Muslim leaders and clerics, however, decried Bhagwat over the remarks saying that it was an attempt to "polarise" people ahead of the next Lok Sabha polls in 2019.

"We will only accept the verdict of the Supreme Court, where the matter is pending... any law for the construction of the Ram Temple will not be accepted to us," Iqbal Ansari, one of the main Muslim plaintiffs in the title suits, said in Ayodhya.

Senior sunni cleric and All India Muslim Personal Law Board member Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangimahali termed Bhagwat's remarks "politically motivated" and said that all sides must wait for the apex court judgement in the matter.

"It is a deliberate attempt to gain political mileage ahead of the polls... no one should be surprised... elections should be fought on issues and not on religious lines," the cleric said.

One of the lawyers for the Muslim plaintiffs, Zafaryab Jilani, also condemned the remarks by Bhagwat and said that any law for the construction of the Ram Temple at Ayodhya would be "unconstitutional".

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Prepare for Ram Temple construction: Yogi

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