From PM Modi to 135 seers: Guest list for Ayodhya Ram temple’s bhoomi pujan
Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya is all ready for the foundation-laying ceremony for the Ram temple on Wednesday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the 175 people, including religious leaders and eminent local citizens, in attendance.
Prime Minister Modi, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and Governor Anandiben Patel will be the main guests during the bhoomi pujan.
Champat Rai, general secretary of the Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra, has said the small ceremony was being organised in Ayodhya view of the coronavirus pandemic.
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“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,’’ Rai has said.
Here are the highlights of the guest list:
* The trust has confirmed that 135 of the 175 guests will be seers from different spiritual traditions.
* Apart from Hindu religious leaders, the chairperson of the Sunni Waqf board from Lucknow, Jathedars or Sikh priests, and other religious heads have also been invited to the bhoomi pujan in Ayodhya.
* The son of the oldest litigant in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit, a Padma Shri awardee and the chairperson of the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board (UPSCWB) are three Muslim invitees among the 175 guests attending the foundation-laying ceremony of the Ram temple on Wednesday.
* Iqbal Ansari, 69, son of Hashim Ansari who died at of 95 in 2016, is the first invitee.
* The second Mohammad Sharif, the 80-year-old who is known across the state for his work in holding final rites for at least 5,000 unclaimed Hindu and Muslim people.
* Zufar Ahmed Faruqi, the chairperson of the UPSCWB that was the main Muslim party in the title suit and the head of the 15-member trust that is helming the construction of a mosque at a five-acre site in Ayodhya district, is the third.
* The trust has also invited Purnima Kothari, the sister of two brothers from Kolkata who were kar sevaks, or Hindu religious volunteers, and died in police firing in Ayodhya on October 30, 1990, while on a procession to the 2.77-acre site.
* The trust also invited family members of local kar sevaks in Ayodhya who died in the firing.
* Former deputy prime minister LK Advani, the BJP leader considered by many as the face of the Ram Temple movement in the 90s, and K Parasaran, the lead counsel for the Hindu side in the title suit hearing in the Supreme Court are among those not invited to the bhoomi poojan because of their advanced age, which put them at greater risk of coronavirus infection.
* Senior BJP leader and former education minister MM Joshi, others stalwarts from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) such as Kalraj Mishra and Kalyan Singh are also unlikely to attend.
* BJP leader Uma Bharti has decided to stay away from the bhoomi poojan event and will visit the site after everyone will leave citing the safety of PM Modi and other guests.