THE IDEA of Hindus claiming ownership of the land in Ayodhya where the foundation stone of a Ram Mandir was laid by Prime Minister Narinder Modi Wednesday, was given by a Sikh Congress leader, Sardar Buta Singh, in 1989.
Chairman of the Punjab Agro Industries Corporation Joginder Singh Mann said his uncle Sardar Buta Singh was Union home minister during the regime of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. He said that at the time, the agitation for the construction of Ram Mandir at Ayodhya was at its peak but Sardar Buta Singh, who “zealously wanted a resolution of the issue to ensure peace and communal harmony in the country”, after studying the matter opined that the Hindu community had not yet staked their claim over the disputed land. Mann said that the former home minister said that a resolution was not possible until the Hindu brethren stake claim.
“As a matter of fact, none of the Hindus organisations had till 1989 claimed ownership of the land. It was in 1989 when then Union Home Minister and prominent Sikh Dalit face of the Congress Sardar Buta Singh suggested to leaders of the Vishwa Hindus Parishad that they stake claim,” said Mann.
The former Punjab minister said Buta Singh was clear on the issue that till 1989, only two litigations were filed in the apex court, which included one filed in 1951 by Gopal Singh Visharad for worshiping rights of Ram Lalla and another in 1959 by Nirmohi Akhara for the management of the temple. “Sardar Buta Singh called the leaders of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and asked them to file suit for claiming the ownership rights of the property as in 1961, the Sunni Waqf Board had filed such claim,” he said, adding that Buta Singh unequivocally asked the VHP leaders that the matter would not be resolved through agitation but either by the orders of the court or through a law enacted by Parliament.
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