Sea of saffron at Ramlila Maidan as VHP presses govt on law for Ram temple
New Delhi, Dec. 9 (PTI): Stepping up pressure on the government to enact a legislation for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, the VHP on Monday put on a massive show of strength in the capital where RSS leader Suresh ‘Bhaiyyaji’ Joshi made a veiled attack at the BJP for not fulfilling its poll promise on the temple issue.
Thousands of people wearing saffron caps and raising slogans such as ‘We don’t want sample, we want temple’ and ‘Ram rajya phir layenge, mandir wahin banayenge’ (will bring Ram rajya, construct a temple there), packed the Ramlila Maidan here.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) rally assumes significance as it comes ahead of Parliament’s winter session starting Tuesday.
Several Hindu priests and senior RSS and VHP functionaries addressed the massive gathering and stated that the judiciary should be mindful of people’s sentiments.
At the rally, RSS general secretary Joshi said, “Those in power today had promised to construct a Ram Temple. They should listen to people and fulfil the demand of a temple in Ayodhya. They are aware of the sentiments.”
Without naming the BJP, he said, “We are not begging for it. We are expressing our emotions. The country wants ‘Ram rajya’.”
A country that develops distrust for the judicial system cannot walk on the path of development. The Supreme Court should also delve into this factor and take public sentiments into account, Joshi said.
“We are not engaged in a conflict with any community. We are not begging but expressing sentiments. Enacting a law is the only option for Ram temple. The movement will continue till the promise is fulfilled,” he said.
Swami Hansdevacharya of Haridwar “warned” Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying, “We will not let him off his seat until the temple is built. He must fulfil his promise.”
The title suit of the Ayodhya land dispute case is pending before the Supreme Court. In January, the court is expected to announce a date for the beginning of the hearing.
But as the dispute has remained unresolved for more than 25 years, right-wing groups are demanding that the Union government sidestep the courts and go ahead with the temple building by enacting a law.
VHP president Vishnu Sadashiv Kokje said public sentiments should be respected as “in a democracy, the public should be supreme, not the court”.
“It’s a misconception that we want to construct a temple in place of a mosque. The mosque was built there after demolishing the temple. Also, terming the demand for a Ram temple an election issue is wrong. There are elections in the country every six months… that does not mean we will keep sitting on it,” Kokje said.
VHP’s international working president Alok Kumar said that all political parties should support the construction of the Ram temple and in the upcoming winter session a law be made for it.
Elaborate security arrangements had been put in place at the Ramlila Maidan and snipers were deployed on high-rises. About 4,500 Delhi Police personnel and 2,000 traffic policemen were deployed for the rally.
The VHP had carried out a door-to-door campaign to make the rally a success.
“It is a massive gathering which will change the hearts of all those who are not in favour of bringing the bill for construction of a grand Ram Temple in Ayodhya,” VHP’s spokesperson Vinod Bansal said.
The right-wing group had approached President Ram Nath Kovind and state governors during previous phases of its temple campaign. In the forthcoming stage, it will hold religious rituals and prayers at temples and matths.
The campaign will culminate at Prayag with a ‘Dharam Sansad’ of priests and saints. The final religious congregation will be held on January 31 and February 1.