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?Parikrama? leads to row

india Updated: Dec 01, 2006 01:38 IST

THE ‘PARIKRAMA’ of the Ram Janmabhoomi temple at Ayodhya by Jagatguru Shankracharya Swami Swaroopanand on Thursday led to a controversy.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), which boycotted Swami Swaroopanand’s visit to Ayodhya accusing him of acting at the behest of the Congress and because he was in favour of constructing a masjid near the temple, has claimed that Swaroopanand’s visit was ‘boycotted’ by almost all the local saints and other religious leaders, as they did not participate in today’s function and the ‘Parikrama’.

On the other hand, firebrand VHP leader and founder president of the Bajrang Dal, an offshoot of the VHP, Vinay Katiyar claimed that all the local sadhus not only welcomed Swaroopanand, but also participated in the ‘Parikrama’ with him.

Talking to Hindustan Times on phone from Ayodhya, official spokesman of the VHP, Sharad Sharma said that local sadhus boycotted the visit of the Shankaracharya following a resolution that was unanimously passed by the top religious leaders, spearheading the temple movement, at a meeting held in Delhi recently. The leaders had opined that Swaroopanand was working at the behest of the Congress and the Congress-led UPA government for ‘hijacking’ the temple movement from the VHP and for construction of a masjid near the proposed temple, which was not acceptable to them.

Sharma said that it was a ‘personal decision’ of Vinay Katiyar to welcome Swaroopanand and accompany him during the ‘Parikrama’ and the VHP had nothing to do with it. He reminded that the decision to boycott the visit was not taken by the VHP, but by the top religious leaders.

Contradicting Sharma’s claims, Katiyar told this reporter that almost all the saints and sadhus gave a warm welcome to Swaroopanand and also accompanied him in the ‘Parikrama’. He denied that the VHP had given a boycott call and claimed that views of Swaroopnand on the temple construction were the same and he had never talked about the masjid. He also reiterated that the temple would be constructed at that very disputed place known as the Janmbhumi.   

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