RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat regretted that “Ram temple was not a priority for the Supreme Court” as speakers at VHP meetings in Ayodhya and Nagpur on Sunday criticised the court for putting off the Ayodhya case till January, and called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to enact a law to end the delay.
Speaking at the VHP’s ‘Humkar Sabha’ at Nagpur, Bhagwat said, “It has become obvious that Ram temple is not a matter of priority for the Supreme Court.” Adding that “Hindus have always abided by the law and shown enough patience”, he said, “Though law is necessary, can society run only on the basis of law? Can any question be raised against matters of faith? Will you continue to evade the truth and the feelings of people?”
Bhagwat added that the time for “patience” was over. “About one year ago, I had said dhairya rakho. Today I say let’s create public awareness, andolan nirnayak ho (what’s needed is a decisive struggle). We have to take up the task of organising whole Hindu society for it.”
Calling upon the Modi government to think about “how it can bring a law to build the temple”, Bhagwat urged society to put pressure for this. “Sometimes, such pressure can lend strength to the government.” Incidentally, the BJP has avoided direct reply to the demand for a legislation on Ram temple, referring to the Supreme Court hearing, while adding that the issue was a matter of faith for it and not political.
At the VHP Dharma Sabha in Ayodhya, senior RSS functionary Krishna Gopal said “youth can go to any extent on the Ram Janmabhoomi issue” and that “Hindus want temples in Ayodhya, Kashi, Mathura”. The Ayodhya Dharma Sabha was touted by VHP managers to be the biggest gathering of “Ram bhakts” in the temple town. However, almost half of the vast ‘Badey Bhaktmaal ki Bagia’ ground in Karsevakpuram — where the VHP has a “karyashala” working on the proposed temple — was empty.
While VHP spokesperson on Ayodhya Sharad Sharma claimed around two lakh people came — including several BJP MPs and MLAs, though none was seen on the stage — Uttar Pradesh Police put the attendance at about 80,000. Official sources said the crowd strength may have been closer to 30,000. Krishna Gopal said some people thought the issue of Ram Janmabhoomi had ceased to exist after December 6, 1992. “Such programmes are being organised to remind them that the issue is very important for Hindu society,” he said.
The RSS leader said Hindu society had been “insulted” and to wash that insult, “Shaurya Diwas” was observed on December 6, 1992. No one can dampen the shaurya (bravery) of Hindu Samaj, he said.
Krishna Gopal urged people to “identify those who are trying to postpone the construction of Ram temple” and “those who don’t want the court to give a judgment on the matter”. “We will not sit with ease nor allow others to sit comfortably until Ram temple is constructed.”
In another reference to the Supreme Court putting off the Ayodhya hearing, Bhagwat said at Nagpur, “It cannot be a question of who owns the title. Can anyone claim ownership of the land which belongs to Lord Ram by virtue of his birth? All this hurts the Hindus and creates a feeling of reaction in their minds.”
Sadhvi Rithambhara, who gave the final speech of the programme, with just Bhagwat’s address to follow, said, “Can there be a greater insult to Hindus that the court feels homosexuality is a matter of priority while Ram temple is not? It is for the Prime Minister now to put Ram lulla at his birthplace.”
VHP international working president Alok Kumar said, “The government should enact a law. It can always do that despite what the Supreme Court says, like it did in case of the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act. Previous governments have done it too, in cases like Shah Bano and Indira Gandhi’s indictment by the Allahabad High Court.”
Kumar announced a plan to organise rallies in all Lok Sabha constituencies of the country to press for a law to build the temple. Addressing the Karsevakpuram gathering, where some members picked up “the soil of Ayodhya” to pledge for constructing temple, Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas head Nritya Gopal Das said, “We have great hopes from PM Modi and CM Adityanath. I request Modiji to make way for building Ram temple and Yogiji should support it.”
‘Jagadguru’ Ram Bhadracharya of Chitrakoot claimed that a Union minister had told him the PM may hold a meeting to discuss the Ram temple matter after December 11, when the winter session of Parliament begins. “I am sure Modiji will not cheat us and the ordinance route may be opted for,” he said, adding that once a temple was built, India will become a “ghoshit Hindu raashtra (declared Hindu nation)”.
Mahant Ramji Das of Nirmohi Akhara, which is one of the main litigants in the Ram Janmabhoomi title suit, said the date for construction of Ram temple will be declared at the Kumbh Mela, scheduled for January-Februay in Prayagraj. “I request you all to keep patience,” he said. In the “presidential address” at Ayodhya, ‘Mahamandaleshwar Parmanandji Maharaj’ asked Muslim organisations to give up on the issue once the BJP brings in a legislation or ordinance on the matter. The same route would be taken in Mathura and Kashi Vishwanath, he said.
‘Jagatguru’ Hansdevacharya said people, including the government, should write letters to the Supreme Court seeking early hearing on the matter. “Ab yaachna nahin, rann hoga (now there will be no requests, but battle). We could have taken some move, just like when the structure was demolished (in 1992), but we will not defy the law.”
Additional Director General Anand Kumar said they were on alert, following an input from intelligence agencies, and the day had passed off peacefully. A police officer said they deployed a team of eight on each train carrying the participants to Ayodhya.
(WITH INPUTS FROM ENS, LUCKNOW)