UP’s Faizabad district to be known as Ayodhya, says Yogi Adityanath
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath made the announcement in Ayodhya at an event on the eve of Diwali where South Korean first lady Kim Jung-sook was also present.Updated: Nov 06, 2018 19:33 IST
Uttar Pradesh’s Faizabad district will be known as Ayodhya after the temple town that is home to the Ram temple, said Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday to loud cheers from the 10,000-strong crowd gathered to hear his big speech on the eve of Diwali.
Adityanath, who had promised “good news,” to devotees of Lord Ram, also announced a medical college named after King Dashrath, Ram’s father, and an airport to be called Raja Ram.
“I assure you that no injustice will be done to Ayodhya,” said the saffron-robed Chief Minister, who is also head priest at the Gorakhnath temple in Gorakhpur.
He spoke about his numerous visits to Ayodhya and asked his audience if there was any other chief minister who had travelled to the town as frequently as him.
“You must acknowledge the change Ayodhya is going through,” he said.
“Ayodhya is a symbol of our ‘aan, baan aur shaan’ (honour, pride and prestige)” he said in the pilgrim town, about 120 km from state capital Lucknow.
Sharing stage with Yogi Adityanath at the ceremony in Ayodhya was South Korean first lady Kim Jung-sook, who earlier laid the foundation stone for the Korean queen Heo Hwang-ok memorial park.
Grand Diwali celebrations are planned on the dazzling riverfront of the Saryu at Ram Ki Paidi and illuminated streets and heritage buildings will also be the part of the event. The old temples facing the ghats of the Saryu River have been bathed in colourful lights and lakhs of earthen lamps are being set up on the steps of the ghats.
Leaders of Yogi Adityanath’s party had hyped up the chief minister’s Diwali-eve speech at Ayodhya over the last few days. When he first spoke about his visit and asked people to expect some good news, BJP functionaries had pointed to a long-standing plan to build a huge statue of Lord Ram in Ayodhya.
Mahant Satyendra Das, the head priest of the makeshift temple at the disputed site, however, had frowned at the plan, stressing that Lord Ram’s place was “in a temple and not in the open”.
The demand that the government rename Faizabad picked pace soon after the government decided to rename Allahabad as Prayag last month.
Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, head of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, who was also on the stage at Tuesday’s event, had pitched for changing Faizabad district’s name. “Ayodhya is an ancient town. It has been cultural and religious capital of the world. There should be no inhibition in renaming Faizabad,” he said. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad had also supported the demand.
Already, the dispute – among India’s most sensitive and divisive political issue - has slowly returned to the political centre stage over the past few months. Last month, the Supreme Court turned down the UP government’s request to expedite hearing the land title dispute case.
Hindus believe the 16th century mosque, Babri Masjid, was built over a temple dedicated to Hindu god Ram, whose birthplace is also considered to be at the site. The mosque was demolished by a mob of thousands in 1992, triggering a cycle of violence and riots across India.
First Published: Nov 06, 2018 17:51 IST