‘Ayodhya petition a legal decision, govt not touching disputed land’: Javadekar on Ram temple
Union minister Prakash Javadekar defended the government after it moved a petition in the Supreme Court for handing over 67 acre land in Ayodhya to Ram temple trust.
Clarifying the central government’s position on petition seeking permission to handover 67 acre land to the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas (a trust campaigning for construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya), Union minister Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday said that the plea before the top court is a “legal decision” taken in sync with the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) stand for building a Ram Mandir at the disputed site. Javadekar, however, maintained that the government has not “touched” the disputed land at the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya.
“The BJP has always maintained that a Ram temple should be built on Ram Janmabhoomi site. Whatever legal measure is required, the BJP will try for that. The prime minister had clarified that people want temple but matter is sub-judice and measures will be taken accordingly. Today’s application is also a legal decision,” Javadekar was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
He further said the petition filed by the government does not interfere with the status of the disputed land. “The government is not touching the disputed land,” Javadekar asserted at a press conference in New Delhi.
Earlier in the day, the government filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking permission from the apex court for returning the acquired 67 acre land to the Ram temple trust. The land was acquired by the central government in 1991. The Supreme Court had, in 2003, ordered to maintain status quo on both the disputed and acquired land in Ayodhya. The plea filed by the government seeks a modification of the order saying that the Ram temple trust had petitioned it for the return of the land.
The Union minister targeted the Congress saying that the party does not believe in Lord Ram and describing it the reason for its leader Kapil Sibal arguing for delaying the hearing in Ayodhya case till the Lok Sabha elections. Congress leader Kapil Sibal, appearing as a counsel for one of the petitioners in the case, had asked the Supreme Court last year to defer hearing of the Ayodhya title dispute till July 2019 arguing that the issue might be used for political gains in the Lok Sabha elections this year.
Javadekar said, “The Congress always tries to block the process. Kapil Sibal’s argument of allotting a date for hearing in the matter only after July 2019 is evident to that. They don’t believe in Ram. Affidavit submitted by the then Congress government on the Ram Setu called it imaginary.”
In an affidavit in 2007, the then United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had then told the Supreme Court that there were no “historical records to incontrovertibly prove” the existence of Lord Ram and that the Ram Setu is a man-made structure. Under the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, another affidavit was filed in 2018 to describe the Ram Setu or the Adam’s Bridge “a cultural heritage” of the country.