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RSS questions Sri Sri Ravishankar’s proposal to mediate in Ayodhya issue

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat cautioned Hindus against becoming complacent till the world recognised Bharat Maa as its guru.

bengaluru Updated: Nov 24, 2017 23:42 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Dharma Sansad,Mohan Bhagwat,Ram temple
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat during a function at Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi.(PTI File Photo)

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat on Friday questioned Sri Sri Ravishankar’s proposal to mediate in the negotiations on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid issue, saying any such decision had to be taken through consultation at the Dharma Sansad.

Addressing a closed door session of the three-day Dharma Sansad or religious parliament in the coastal town of Udupi in Karnataka, Bhagwat said, “There is a very popular person who also proposed to negotiate, announced in the media, which is where I heard it from... that person also came to me as well, but I said that is not my job.”

Bhagwat went on to add that any such proposal had to be routed through the sansad, which is being organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. “This movement’s decisions have to be taken under the guidance of the Dharma Sansad... Everybody has freedom and there is democracy so if anybody is willing [to negotiate] they can. But whosoever wants to help in the negotiation on the Ram Janmabhoomi issue has to go through the Sansad,” he said.

In recent months, there has been much talk about a negotiated settlement of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, as suggested by the Supreme Court in April. In this backdrop, Ravishankar had expressed his willingness to mediate a solution.

Bhagwat’s views come as a blow to Ravishankar’s attempts at negotiation. Last month, the chairman of the UP Shia Central Waqf Board Waseem Rizvi had met him in Bengaluru in this regard. Incidentally, Ravishankar is expected to attend the Udupi event, where over 2,000 religious leaders are set to discuss matters pertaining to the Hindu religion.

Meanwhile, the VHP too distanced itself from Ravishankar’s efforts, saying he should not have involved himself in the matter. “He (Ravishankar) did not discuss the matter with us. If

he is mediating, he is doing so at his personal level. VHP has nothing to do with it,” VHP general secretary Champat Rai said while briefing mediapersons on the opening day’s proceedings.

Rai also said if Ravishankar succeeded in arriving at a solution, he would have to submit it in the Supreme Court, where the matter is being heard.

Earlier in the day, Bhagwat had said the realisation of the demand for a Ram temple was nearing. “After so many years’ efforts, after so many sacrifices, today it feels like it is near,” he said. The RSS chief said there was a case in the court and everybody knew the demands of the organisation. “Even if we don’t speak [about our demands] everybody recognises us as the Ram Mandirwale, this is how involved we have been in this issue,” he said.

“Ram Janmabhoomi par Ram mandir hi banega, aur kuch nahi banega. Wahin banega... unhi pattharonse banega (the Ram temple will be built at Ram Janmabhoomi, and nothing else will be built there. It will be built there and with those same stones),” he said.

Bhagwat cautioned Hindus against becoming complacent till the world recognised Bharat Maa as its Guru. He said there was no need for Hindus to boast about winning battles, as they were winning battles and would achieve complete victory. “Phir humko jay jay kar bhi nahin karna padega, saari duniya hamari jay jay kar karegi (and then we will not have to boast about ourselves, the whole world will applaud us).”

Togadia, too, made a pitch for constructing the Ram temple at the disputed site. “I pray to God that a temple should be built in Ayodhya and quickly. We want a temple in Ayodhya, the birth place of Ram, and we also want Ram rajya.”

Togadia attacked state governments in the country for interfering in the administration of temples. He said the nation’s Constitution was secular, but if this was so then how could secular governments manage the maths and temples of Hindus, calling it “unconstitutional”.

The seer of the influential Paryaya Pejawar Math in Udupi, Vishwesha Tirtha Swami, laid down a deadline of a year for starting work on the temple. “There is a conducive environment at present, and, hence, work on the temple must begin within a year. I am confident that by 2019 work would have begun.”

Muslim organisations reacted sharply to Bhagwat’s strong pitch for building a Ram Temple on the disputed site at Ayodhya, terming it as a direct challenge to the apex court and demanding action against him.

They also alleged that the RSS chief was trying to help the BJP in the upcoming Gujarat elections by diverting the attention of voters from “real” issues with such statements. “The All India Muslim Personal Law Board has faith in the judiciary and will try to implement its order... by issuing this statement Mohan Bhagwat has taken law into his hands,” spokesman of the AIMPLB, Maulana Khaild Saifullah Rehmani, said.

In Hyderabad, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi alleged that the RSS chief and the BJP wanted to take political advantage in Gujarat polls with his “obnoxious” remarks on Ram temple issue and warned the Sangh that it was “playing with fire”.

The Hyderabad MP alleged that the RSS and BJP were trying to create an “atmosphere of fear” ahead of the hearing on the Ayodhya dispute on December 5 and hoped that the Supreme Court will take note of what he called “nefarious designs”.

(With PTI inputs)

First Published: Nov 24, 2017 19:20 IST