Updated: November 10, 2019 8:46:37 am
“IT IS a historic verdict. It has sent out a message of peace and camaraderie to the world,” said Kameshwar Choupal, the Dalit VHP leader who laid the first foundation stone for the proposed Ram Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya in November 1989 — three years before the demolition of the Babri Masjid.
“We have nothing against the Supreme Court giving five acres for a mosque. We were only interested in the land for Ram Lalla Virajman… The verdict has come after 30 years but I am happy it came in my lifetime,” says the 65-year-old former BJP MLC who unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Supaul. He is now a member of the BJP state executive committee and hails from Supaul’s Kamrail village.
In 1989, as a 35-year-old Sah Sangathan Mantri of the VHP, Choupal, along with a thousand other people from various parts of Bihar had boarded “trains, cars and trucks” to reach Ayodhya.
“We stayed in a camp designated for people from Bihar. The Shankaracharyas and the entire Dharm Sansad was there. It was decided that a person from a deprived section of society would lay the first foundation brick. (Late) VHP leader Ashok Singhal told me I was chosen,” recalls Choupal. “ It was an emotional moment for me.”
After 1989, says Choupal, he has been associated with every movement related to the Ram Temple and Ayodhya. Talking about the days leading up to the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, Choupal says, “Lakhs of karsevaks had gathered at Ayodhya… We had been waiting for a decision. The demolition of the mosque was a spontaneous outburst… I was not part of it though,” says Choupal.
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