A day after Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lay the foundation stone of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Sunday said some people think building a temple will help eradicating the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Eradication of COVID-19 is the priority of the Maharashtra government, but some people think constructing a temple will help in its mitigation,” Pawar told reporters in Solapur, news agency PTI reported. The NCP supremo said this when asked about the proposed date for laying of the foundation stone for the Ram temple.
The Trust met Saturday to decide the date of construction of the temple at the site in Ayodhya where the Babri Masjid once stood. The construction of the temple, which was set to begin a few months ago, had to be postponed on account of the coronavirus-induced lockdown in March.
Mahant Kamal Nayan Das, the spokesperson of Ram Mandir Trust president Nritya Gopal Das said, “We have suggested two auspicious dates — August 3 and 5 — for the prime minister’s visit based on calculations of movements of stars and planets.”
“The entire country is of the opinion that it (the bhoomi pujan) should be done by the Prime Minister,” said Kameshwar Chaupal, one of the 15 members of the Trust. He said the construction will start when the Prime Minister deems it fit after considering the situation in the country, on the border and the pandemic.
Incidentally, August 5 will mark one year of the abrogation of Article 370 and the bifurcation of the State of Jammu & Kashmir into two Union Territories.
In November 2019, three months after the abrogation of Article 370, a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court directed that the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site be handed over to a Centre-appointed Trust for construction of a temple and Muslims be given an alternate 5-acre site for a mosque.
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