A DAY after charges were framed against BJP veterans L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Union Minister Uma Bharati, head of Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, Mahant Nritya Gopal Das and eight others in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday visited the makeshift Ram Lalla temple in Ayodhya. On his first visit to Ayodhya after taking charge as Chief Minister, Adityanath spent about half-an-hour in the makeshift temple. He later offered prayers on the banks of Saryu river. He was accompanied by Mahant Dharam Das, who is a co-accused with Nritya Gopal Das and among those against whom charges were framed in Lucknow on Tuesday.
At the birthday celebrations of Nritya Gopal Das on Wednesday, Adityanath started his speech by chanting Jai Shree Ram. He said the way in which chants of “Har-Har Mahadev” and “Radhe Radhe” were heard in every lane of Kashi (Varanasi) and Mathura respectively, anyone who visits Ayodhya automatically gets connected with Lord Ram and chants “Jai Shree Ram”. On the temple dispute, he said, “An atmosphere of harmony should be created for resolving the dispute related to the Ram Janmabhoomi through talks.” He claimed various Muslim organisations had advocated that the Ram Janmaboomi site should be handed over to Hindus.
Assuring the support of the state government if talks are held, he said some people don’t want unity in the country and, therefore, were creating hurdles. He also said he felt that the appropriate time for talks had come. Earlier, he said that though he was aware of what the gathering wanted to hear from him on the Ram temple issue, he wanted to ensure that he respected the sentiments of all people.
Alleging that previous governments had neglected Ayodhya, Adityanath announced projects worth Rs 350 crore for the area’s development. He said the Centre too was working for Ayodhya’s development. He announced that the state had sent a proposal to the Centre for development of a two-lane Ram Janki Marg, connecting Ayodhya with Janakpur. He said the aarti will be organised on the banks of the Saryu on a grand scale and the Saryu Mahotsav will be organised. He also announced beautification of Ram ki Paidi. The Chief Minister said a sewage treatment plant would be set up to check the discharge of untreated waste into the Saryu and a sum of Rs 50 crore will be spent on developing roads in the area. A project has also been prepared for renovation and redevelopment of the samadhi of Paramhans Ramchandra Das, a prominent leader of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, said Adityanath.
The Chief Minister said staging of Ram Lila has resumed and a Ram Katha museum with an open-air theatre will also be developed. He gave credit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the development schemes, and said the Centre had included Ayodhya in various infrastructure development programmes. The Chief Minister said the state government will make similar comprehensive development plans for religious places of all faiths. He said his government would develop the routes of all parikramas — 5-kosi, 14-kosi and 84-kosi — in Ayodhya and added that civic amenities and dharamshalas would be developed on the routes.
Without naming the Akhilesh Yadav government, he said when the Vishwa Hindu Parishad decided to start the 84-kosi parikrama in Ayodhya, the then state government did not allow it. “But that will not happen now,” the Chief Minister said.