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On the 23rd anniversary of the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on Sunday, UP’s Forest Minister Tej Narain Pandey pledged to “protect Muslims’ honour” till his last breath. Barely 3 km away, chief of Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas Mahant Nritya Gopal Das vowed to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and revive the Ram Temple movement.
The day passed peacefully with Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC) observing Yaum-e-Gham (Day of Sorrow), while VHP celebrated Shaurya Diwas. Police had a minor altercation with Indian Union Muslim League workers who tried to take out a rally, but were stopped.
At the BMAC function, Pandey said: “Till my last breath I will fight for your honour and defeat of communal forces. (SP chief) Mulayam Singh always stood with Muslims… As long as we are here, we will not allow BJP, RSS, VHP to spoil the atmosphere.”
Additional Advocate General Zafaryab Jilani urged Muslims not to reply to controversial statements made by RSS leaders. “They want a reaction so that there is a polarisation of votes in their favour. We should not react,” he said. He said RSS had “failed” in Dadri as Muslims did not react.
At VHP’s Shaurya Diwas function in Karsewak Puram, chief of Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas Nritya Gopal Das vowed to revive the temple movement. “We did anushthan once and the structure was demolished. Now we need to perform anushthan again. We need to raise our voice so that it reaches the heart of court and ears of government,” he said.
He also defended PM over his “silence on the temple issue”. “The time is not appropriate. The country is facing flood, drought and other calamities. Let things become stable. Then we can meet Modi and request him to address the Ram temple issue,” he added.
Suresh Das, mahant of Diagamber Akhada, attacked the BJP for “forgetting” the issue. Former BJP MP Ramvilas Vedanti said the Modi government should push for uniform civil code and scrapping article 370. “The day uniform civil code is implemented, I will assume that the foundation of Ram temple is laid.” he said.