Bengal karsevaks welcome Ayodhya verdict amid mixed reaction; no word from Mamata
The Supreme Court’s verdict on the decades-old Ayodhya title suit on Saturday evoked mixed reactions in West Bengal as the state government remained on high alert.
The ruling by a five-judge constitution bench of the top court on Saturday held unanimously that a Ram temple would be built at the 2.77-acre piece of land in Ayodhya and ordered the government to give Muslims an alternative five-acre plot in a prominent place in Ayodhya.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee did nor offer any comment, Left leaders raised questions and some people who visited Ayodhya as karsevaks or religious volunteers in the mid 90’s were jubilant.
Pinaki Ranjan Shaw and Sudhir Goswami from Midnapore and Birbhum districts respectively went to the ancient town in Uttar Pradesh as karsevaks in the 90s.
“I am very happy. We wanted to have the temple where Lord Ram was born. Though I am 60 now I plan to visit Ayodhya again,” said Goswami.
“It is time to rejoice. Many of my fellow villagers who went to Ayodhya in 1992 died over the years. They would have been very happy today,” said Shaw.
Around 750 km away from Ayodhya, in Bankura district’s Paschim Sanabadh village, Rammay Mukherjee and other villagers saw the fulfilment of their dream of witnessing a Ram Mandir.
In this unique village, all boys are christened in a way that their names carry “Ram” as a prefix or suffix. The practice has been there for the last 500 years.
“When our forefathers began to reside in the area they set up a temple of Ram. We love him so much that we have made him a part of our name,” said Mukherjee.
“The truth has been established. Ayodhya is the birthplace of Lord Ram whom we worship,” he added.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) expressed its reservation over the verdict.
“While this judgement has provided a judicial resolution to this fractious issue there are certain premises of the judgement which are questionable,” the CPI(M) said in a statement.
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Bengal unit president Dilip Ghosh welcomed the ruling.
“So many disciplines of Lord Ram sacrificed their lives. We welcome the verdict. The temple will be built now,” said Ghosh.
“The verdict should not be seen as someone’s victory or someone’s defeat. It is our duty to respect the decision of the highest court of the country,” said governor Jagdeep Dhankhar.
Police stayed on high alert since Saturday morning in the state, where a few people were killed during the riots in 1992 and the Left Front government led by Jyoti Basu opted for army deployment. However, no untoward incident was reported till evening.
Reserve police battalions were taken to police stations in districts such as Malda, Murshidabad and North 24 Parganas located along the India-Bangladesh border and have high Muslim population.
“Security has been beefed up as a precautionary measure,” Malda’s superintendent of police, Alok Rajoria, said.
“We are on the alert,” said Kankar Prasad Barui, superintendent of Basirhat police district in North 24 Parganas, where riots took place in 2017 over a blasphemous social media post.