In a first since 1990, Vishwa Hindu Parishad has stopped stone carving work for the construction of a Ram temple in the temple town ahead of the Supreme court verdict in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi land dispute case.
Artisans involved in the construction work have returned to their homes, VHP spokesperson Sharad Sharma told news agency PTI.
“We have stopped the carving of stones and the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas will decide when the carving will be restarted,” Sharma was quoted as saying by PTI. “All our proposed programmes regarding different activities of our outfits have been cancelled keeping in view the upcoming Ayodhya verdict,” he added.
The decision to stop carving has been taken by top leaders of the Parishad, a Hindu right-wing organisation which has been at the forefront of the movement demanding the construction of a ‘grand temple’ dedicated to Lord Ram at the site of the demolished Babri Masjid, he said.
The Supreme Court verdict in the Ayodhya land dispute case is expected by November 17, before the retirement of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi who heads the five-judge bench which has been hearing arguments in the case.
In the anticipation of the upcoming verdict, the oganisation has also appealed to its cadres to remain calm and not indulge in any celebratory frenzy. In a letter to its workers, VHP central vice-president Champat Rai wrote, “This (the verdict) should not be a matter of Hindus and Muslims. It is about accepting the truth. So, do not create a celebratory frenzy in society and nobody should be taunted.”
VHP began the carving of the stones for the construction of the Ram Temple at the Ram Mandir Karyashala in 1990 when Samajwadi Party’s Mulayam Singh Yadav was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh where the temple town is located.
The work of the artisans has been going on uninterrupted since then and nearly 1.25 lakh cubic foot of stone has already been carved out, according to the VHP. The organisation further claimed that stone work required for the first floor of the proposed temple is ready, whereas nearly 1.75 lakh cubit foot stone for the rest of the temple is yet to be carved.
Requesting communities to maintain harmony irrespective of the verdict, Sharma said, “Whether the verdict is in favour of Hindus or Muslims, it is time that both communities present great examples of harmony and brotherhood. We all have to take care that no incident which mixes venom in the cordial relations of Hindus and Muslims should take place.”
Meanwhile, strict security measures have been put in place in Ayodhya and neighbouring parts in the state and at various places in the country to ensure that there is no disruption of law and order following the announcement of the judgement. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 have been imposed in the town till December 28 and the local administration has issued a ban on any event marking a “victory” or “mourning” over the verdict.
-with PTI inputs
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