A contentious seminar on the proposed Ram Janmabhoomi temple got underway at Delhi University on Saturday sparking protests by Left-leaning groups and clashes between the Congress’ student outfit and the right-wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
Varsity security guards even caned some of the students to disperse them from the gate of the conference centre where the seminar is being held.
The seminar coincides with renewed efforts by right-wing groups led by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) at building the temple at a place in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya town where Ram is believed to have been born.
Meanwhile BJP leader Subramanian Swamy lashed out at those opposing the seminar and dubbed them as “intolerant.”
“There has been a lot of hue and cry about the so called intolerance, where has that intolerance gone? This is a seminar on a topic which is very important, it is not being attended by politicians but by historians, researchers and academicians,” he said.
The clashes at DU were said to be have been triggered after Swamy said at the seminar that even former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi wanted to establish a “Ram Rajya”, a reference to an ideal state.
“Construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya is mandatory for revival of our culture. We have started and we will not give up until it is made but nothing will be done forcibly and against the law. We have full faith that we will win in the court,” he said in his inaugural address at the two-day seminar amidst shouts of “Jai Siya Ram” and “Bharat Mata ki Jai”.
Elaborating that building the temple is not only the dream of BJP, he also asked the Congress to join them in the effort.
Swamy had earlier this week said that the construction of the temple would begin by this year-end with the cooperation of the Muslim community.
Asking the Muslims of the country to give up the battle of building a mosque at the disputed site, Swamy said, “In Saudi Arabia, I was told they keep on breaking the mosque so why are Muslims having problem? Masjid is only a place to read namaz, that they can do read anywhere. But it is a government’s promise that we will give you land near Sarayu river and the mosque can be built there,” Swamy added.
Besides the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), other organizations protesting the seminar include the All India Students’ Association (AISA), Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS), Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS), Students’ Federation of India (SFI) and Democratic Students’ Organisation.
The seminar is being organised by the Arundhati Vasisht Anusandhan Peeth, an organisation founded by former Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader late Ashok Singhal.
Criticising the protesters, Swamy said, “As there cannot be Ramayana without Ravan so without these protesters this seminar could not have taken place.”
(With agency inputs)