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Sunday, Dec 08, 2019

PM Modi heads ministers’ meet on Ayodhya temple trust

On Saturday, the Supreme Court, in its order on the Ramjanamabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit, gave the government three months from the date of the judgement to set up such a trust.

india Updated: Nov 13, 2019 00:50 IST
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Tuesday’s meeting headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi starts the process of setting up the Ayodhya
Tuesday’s meeting headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi starts the process of setting up the Ayodhya (PTI File Photo )
         

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday chaired a meeting with a small group of union ministers to deliberate on the setting up of a trust that will have the mandate to decide on all matters related to the construction of a Ram Temple in Ayodhya, said a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) functionary familiar with the matter and who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Tuesday’s meeting starts the process of setting up the trust, which will be under the purview of the Union ministry of home affairs.

On Saturday, the Supreme Court, in its order on the Ramjanamabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit, gave the government three months from the date of the judgement to set up such a trust.

“The apex court has given the central government the powers to decide {on} issues related to the land and construction. So as per the directions of the court, if the centre needs to purchase additional land around the site for the construction of the temple, it can do so,” said another person aware of the development who asked not to be named.

The SC, in its judgment, said, “…the Central Government will be at liberty to make suitable provisions in respect of the rest of the acquired land by handing it over to the trust or body for management and development in terms of the scheme framed in accordance with the above directions.”

Even as the government is yet to reach out to stakeholders such as the Ramjanamabhoomi Nyas to take on board their suggestions, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), which set up the Nyas, wants the government to be kept out of the trust that will be formed.

Surendra Jain, international joint general secretary of the VHP, which led the campaign for the construction of the Ram Temple, said the body wants the government to ensure that “only Hindus” are part of the trust and that “instead of government representatives they should take on board members of socio-religious bodies”.

“We also want the trust that will be set up to construct the temple as per the model that was designed by Chandrakant Sompura, use the stones that have been collected and carved over the years to be used for the grand temple and use only funds collected by the people,” Jain said.

Sompura is a Gujarat-based architect who was asked to design the Ram Temple by the late VHP supremo Ashok Singhal. His father, Prabhakar Sompura, was the architect of the Somnath Temple in Gujarat.

On whether the VHP has made any other suggestions so far; Jain said reports of the body having suggested that the model of the trust being created should be the Somnanth Trust or the Badri Nath Trust were incorrect.

“Each temple follows its own policy and has its own character; there can’t be a single model to fit all,” Jain said.