A day after a Varanasi court ordered the Archaeological Survey of India to “get a comprehensive archaeological physical survey” done of the disputed Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Mosque complex, the issue was missing from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) margdarshak mandal held in Haridwar on Friday. After the meeting, The Indian Express spoke to VHP working president Alok Kumar. Excerpts:
Why was the Kashi issue not discussed in the margdarshak mandal?
The VHP and saints have decided that Ram Janmabhoomi is a major issue and will be completed first. Ramlala will be installed inside the garbhagriha. This work will be completed by 2024. Till then, no other issue will be taken up.
What about the order from the Varanasi court?
That is an interim order form the court and the court has its process. We will watch and will speak when needed.
How do you view the court order?
The order is to find out historical facts and the facts are known… As far as the VHP is concerned, we shall not take up any such matter before 2024. By that time, we expect to install Ramlala in his temple. Let us complete one task. We will consider it (the Kashi issue) only after that.
The Ram Janmabhoomi movement helped the BJP to come to power. Will there be a similar political impact of the Kashi issue?
Till 2024, we will not even consider it (the Kashi issue). So where is the question of political impact or otherwise? We will keep a watch on whatever is happening in the court.
Several years ago, the VHP’s slogan was “Ayodhya toh bas jhanki hai, Kashi Mathura baki hai” (Ayodhya is just a preview, Kashi and Mathura are next in line). What is the strategy now?
We are focused on the jhanki (Ayodhya) at present. We have received donations for it (the Ram temple) from across the country. The temple will be completed by 2024. We will not consider Kashi and Mathura till then.