December 24, 2015

India: Hindutva driven Ram temple talk, stone-carving gains momentum in Ayodhya

The Times of India

As RS loses order over temple, stone-carving gains momentum
Arshad Afzal Khan | TNN | Dec 24, 2015, 01.00 AM IST

KARSEWAKPURAM (AYODHYA): On the day Rajya Sabha got stalled over the arrival of stones for construction of Ram Mandir, the carving and chiseling work continued in Ayodhya on Wednesday. When TOI visited the the workshop - Mandir Nirman Karyashala - a handful of artisan were busy with their work, unmindful all the politics going around it.

Although the workshop had worn a forlorn look in the past few years, it has got back to life nowadays, particularly after temple trust's president Nritya Gopal Das performed shila pujan a few days ago.

An artisan from Surendranagar district of Gujarat, Rajnikant told TOI that besides him there were six other artisans and helpers engaged in the carving of stones for Ram Mandir at the workshop. Not moved by the politics over the issue, he said he the artisans were only interested in their daily wages.

Another artisan, from Bharatpur district of Rajasthan, Lakkhi said they were carving the stones all day as per the designs given to them by the workshop supervisor Annu Bhai Sompura, and that he was least interested in the Ayodhya dispute.

Meanwhile, Faizabad district administration has increased security in the wake of announcement of arrival of more consignments of stones by VHP. Talking to TOI, Faizabad additional district magistrate R N Sharma said top administration officials are monitoring the situation personally.

Senior SP minister Kamaal Akhtar said that VHP was trying to pollute the communal atmosphere by increasing its activities in Ayodhya. "By bringing stones for construction work, saffron forces are trying to polarize the people in the name of Ram Mandir for political gains," he said.

Senior lawyer and convener of the Babri Mazjid Action Committee (BMAC), Zafaryab Jilani, said stones were being brought to Ayodhya for the past two decades. "It is not the stones but the statement of leaders from the saffron brigade which is concerning and smacks of a political design," he told TOI.

"Statements like Sandesh Mil Gaya Hai (Have got the message) issued by the VHP leaders in Ayodhya suggests that their is a clear political move of the government at the center to rake up the issue primarily to test political waters," he said.

Jilani said that BJP wants to raise the temple issue to divert attention of the people from the failures of the government at the center. "They (the BJP led NDA at the Centre) want to test if the temple issue will help them in the assembly elections Assam, West Bengal in 2016 and obviously in Uttar Pradesh in 2017," he said.

Talking to TOI, SP leader senior Supreme Court lawyer Gaurav Bhatia said the move was an attempt of the BJP and VHP to vitiate the atmosphere and disturb the communal harmony in UP. "They want to divert the attention of the people from the issues like development and employment - where the BJP government at the center has failed to has deliver," he said.

The original litigant in the case, Hashim Ansari, too said that attempts were being made to give a political color to the temple issue. "I will not allow anyone to turn this issue into a political one. The case is before the supreme court and we will have to wait for final judgment in the case," he said.

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The Hindu, New Delhi, December 6, 2015

Bajrang Dal renews Ram temple campaign on Babri anniversary

Vikas Pathak

Bajrang Dal to observe Babri anniversary as ‘valour day’.

Bajrang Dal will observe the 23rd anniversary of the Babri mosque demolition on Sunday as “Shourya Divas” (Valour Day). While the organisation has been observing the day all these years, the context of the recent death of Ashok Singhal, leader of the VHP, its parent organisation, and the Sangh Parivar’s reiteration of its commitment to build a Ram temple as the “true” tribute to him, has made the event, otherwise “routine”, acquire greater symbolic importance.

Nationwide programmes

There will be programmes across the country, including at Karsevakpuram in Ayodhya, where the mosque stood till December 6, 1992.

Fireworks, processions, recitation of Hanuman Chalisa and a pledge in support of the temple are part of the celebration, VHP leader Vinod Bansal said.

Mr. Bansal said “Shourya Divas” had helped the organisation “pay tribute” to those who contributed to the Ram temple movement and inform the youth about it to have a future supply of sympathisers for the cause.

VHP wants law to build Ram temple

The VHP has reiterated that the Centre should get a law passed by Parliament or promulgate an ordinance to pave the way for a Ram temple at Ayodhya.

“Four rounds of talks have failed as the rival party ran away from them. Now the one way out is to build a Ram temple the way the Somnath temple was rebuilt after Independence. The government should pass a Bill in Parliament or bring an ordinance for the same,” VHP joint general secretary Surendra Jain told The Hindu. “This would be a true homage to the late Ashok Singhal,” he said.

Left to protest today

The Left parties, which are observing a week-long protest against intolerance, will stage a protest across India on Sunday.

“The RSS has become desperate and wants to create strife and keep the temple issue alive. They are acting as an extra-constitutional authority. They know that the BJP government is fast getting unpopular and want to push through their divisive Hindutva agenda quickly,” CPI leader D. Raja told The Hindu. “We will remember this day both as Babri mosque demolition day and the death anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar, who gave us our progressive Constitution whose values we have to uphold.”

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat recently said he was confident a Ram temple would come up in Ayodhya during his lifetime.

This had led to protests in Parliament by the Samajwadi Party, which accused the Sangh of disturbing social harmony.

The Ayodhya title suit has been pending before the Supreme Court after the parties challenged the Allahabad High Court’s decision to divide the site among the litigants.

The case Timeline

›1949: Idols of Ram Lalla are placed surreptitiously under the central dome.
› 1950: Gopal Simla Visharad files first suit in Faizabad civil court for rights to perform pooja to Ram Lalla.
› 1950: Paramahansa Ramachandra Das files a suit for continuation of pooja and keeping idols in the structure.
› 1959: Nirmohi Akhara files third suit, seeking direction to hand over charge of the disputed site. U.P. Sunni Central Wakf Board files fourth suit in 1961 for declaration and possession and fifth in 1989 in the name of Ram Lalla Virajman for declaration and possession.
› 1986: District judge orderes locks be removed. Site opened for Hindu worshippers.
› 1989: The four suits pending were transferred to the High Court.
› 1991: U.P. govt. acquires land around the structure for convenience of devotees who attend Ram Lalla darshan.
› 1993: Govt. takes over 67 acres of land around the area, seeks SC's opinion on whether there existed a Hindu place of worship before the structure was built.
› 1994: Case goes back to Lucknow Bench of HC, suits heard again from 1996.

Read the full judgement in the Ayodhya verdict

The Supreme Court's intervention

Slideshow: Protestors observe 'Black Day'

Sangh Parivar keeps temple issue alive

Plaintiff’s retraction won’t affect Babri case: Azam Khan

For more on the verdict

From The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy
What December 6 Means for India

In this essay, Mujibur Rehman analyses the reasons behind the shrinking of secular space and its implications for India’s politics and public discourse, the restructuring of the relationship between Indian Muslims and Hindutva ideology.