Even as the dispute regarding the title in the Babri Masjid/Ramjanmabhoomi case remains pending before the Supreme Court, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has sped up its preparations for the construction of a Ram temple on the Babri site in Ayodhya.
On cue with the VHP’s announcement that the mandir would be constructed by the year’s end, two truckloads of stones, to be used to build the temple, arrived in Ayodhya on Monday. This is to be followed by more than a hundred trucks in the next few days. The trucks have been unloaded at the VHP’s headquarters Karsewak Puram in the town.
At a high-level meeting of the VHP in June 2015 – attended by late leader Ashok Singhal – the radical Hindutva outfit had announced that it would run a nationwide drive to collect stones for the building of the mandir.
Speaking to The Wire, senior VHP leader Triloki Nath Pandey said, “Today two truckloads of stones to be used in the Ram mandir have arrived from Bharatpur in Rajasthan, we need more than a hundred truckloads to give final shape to the proposed temple.”
In a similar move a year and a half ago, on December 20, 2015, two truckloads of stones for the same purpose had been brought to Ayodhya. The then Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh promptly banned the entry of more stones, by denying the VHP ‘form 39’ of the commercial tax department, required for the import. But that impediment has been removed with Adityanath as chief minister
“A month back we contacted the officer of the commercial tax department, he immediately issued the form 39 that they were holding since a year,” said Pandey, adding, “There is a BJP government in the state so now there is no hurdle in the way of the construction of the Ram mandir.”
Reacting to this move by the VHP, Khaliq Ahmad Khan, who a party to the case from the side of the Babri masjid, said, “The arrival of stones is just to send out a message to voters that the saffron forces are serious about the construction of the Ram mandir. The arrival of stones or any other activity of the VHP will not affect any other sentiments as the matter is in the Supreme Court, and the title of the land is yet to be decided,” he said, adding, “We have faith in the Indian constitution and the Supreme Court of India.”
Former vice chancellor of Lucknow University Roop Rekha Varma, said “As the Ayodhya issue is sub judice, such activities are illegal, and anti-national, and it may give rise to communal tension and disturb the peace and law and order, so the import of stones to Ayodhya in the name of the Ram mandir must be banned, and it is the responsibility of the state government to do so.”
ARSHAD AFZAAL KHAN