Four key guests in temple event, 175 invitees: Trust
The trust said confirmed that 135 of the 175 guests will be seers from different spiritual traditions. “According to the list, there are barely any politicians,’’ said a top security official on condition of anonymity.Updated: Aug 04, 2020 07:27 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and governor Anandiben Patel will be the main guests at the Ram temple foundation-laying ceremony on Wednesday that will have a total of 175 people in attendance, comprising religious leaders and eminent local citizens.
In a press conference on Monday, Champat Rai, general secretary of the Ram Mandir Teerth Kshetra Trust, also clarified that former deputy prime minister LK Advani was among those not invited to the ceremony because of their advanced age, which put them at greater risk of coronavirus infection.
“We didn’t invite those over 90. How could Parasaran ji [K Parasaran, the lead counsel for the Hindu side in the title suit hearing in the Supreme Court] come from Chennai? How could Advaniji come from Delhi in these corona times?’’ he asked. Another senior trust official pointed out that Advani was attending legal proceedings in the Babri Masjid demolition case – being heard by a special Central Bureau of Investigation court in Ayodhya – via video conference.
“There has been no discussion with Advaniji at any stage about him attending or an invite to the event,’’ said an aide to the leader considered by many as the face of the Ram Temple movement in the 90s.
Rai ruled out the presence of former education minister MM Joshi. Others stalwarts from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) such as Kalraj Mishra and Kalyan Singh were also unlikely to attend. Uttar Pradesh has 97,000 infections and 1,700 deaths.
The trust said confirmed that 135 of the 175 guests will be seers from different spiritual traditions. “According to the list, there are barely any politicians,’’ said a top security official on condition of anonymity. “It’s not just Hindu religious leaders but they have also called the chairman of the Sunni Waqf board from Lucknow, Jathedars or Sikh priests, and other religious heads,’’ the official added.
Rai said the small ceremony was being organised in view of the pandemic. “If it were normal circumstances, then we would have had all those who have been associated with the movement from the beginning. However, the circumstances are such that very few can come,’’ he added.
Wednesday’s event will start shortly after noon but the city is expected to shut down at least two hours before the PM arrives. The invites will an individual code that can be used by only one person once. If someone leaves in the middle of the event, they will not be allowed back in.
“We have are already diverting those who are trying to come to Ayodhya,’’ said a second senior security official. “We have information that many are starting to land up to witness this event and so we cannot allow that.’’
On Wednesday, PM Modi will first visit the deity at the site and then release a special postage stamp for the occasion. This will be followed by tree plantation and a puja for the event. This puja is expected to last about 20 minutes after which the PM will deliver a speech. The entire event is expected to wrap up by 2pm.
“Only Bhagwatji, Yogi, the governor and a couple of other officials will be on stage with the PM and so there will be adequate social distancing,’’ said Prashant Sharma, one of the organizers of the event.