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Yogi Adityanath offers prayers at Ram temple in Ayodhya, first UP CM in 15 years

Adityanath’s visit — the first in 15 years by a UP CM — has given an impetus to the Ram temple issue even as BJP leaders have been summoned in connection with Babri mosque demolition.

india Updated: May 31, 2017 13:52 IST
Pawan Dixit
Pawan Dixit
Hindustan Times, Ayodhya
Yogi Adityanath,Ayodhya,Babri mosque demolition
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath holds a traditional lamp as he performs prayers on the banks of river Sarayu in Ayodhya on Wednesday.(REUTERS)

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath stirred sentiments when he paid obeisance to the Ram Lalla (infant Ram) at the disputed site of Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on Wednesday.

Chants of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘mandir wahin banayenge’ (we will build the temple at the site) reverberated in the air as Adityanath, who is also a mahant (temple chief priest), offered prayers amidst priests and security personnel — the only people allowed at the site — for 15 minutes.

Adityanath’s visit — the first in 15 years by a UP CM — has given an impetus to the Ram temple issue as it comes a day after senior BJP leaders were summoned by a CBI court for framing charges for allegedly conspiring to demolish the 16th century Babri Masjid (mosque).

Hundreds of Hindu zealots had scaled the disputed Babri Masjid in 1992 and knocked it down, triggering a cycle of communal violence that claimed more than 3,000 lives over two decades.

The controversial razing was the culmination of a festering dispute between Muslims and many Hindus, who believe the Mughal emperor Babur razed a temple at the site believed to be the birthplace of Hindu god, Ram.

The demolition also buoyed the BJP to power in Uttar Pradesh and in other Hindi heartland states as it had promised to build a Ram temple at the site.

Adityanath’s visit comes nearly two-and-a-half months after the Supreme Court’s suggestion that the Ayodhya dispute be resolved amicably with Chief Justice of India JS Khehar offering to mediate to help resolve the matter.

Earlier in the morning, Adityanath also visited the Hanuman Garhi, the oldest temple of Lord Hanuman. Clad in his customary saffron robe, the CM offered prayers at the temple as per the Vedic rituals.

Supporters’ chants grew louder as Adityanath came out of the temple after offering prayers.

Breaking the police cordon, people tried to reach out to the CM to touch his feet and seek blessings.

For the people, Adityanath is more a ‘mahant’ than the chief minister. Adityanath was visibly happy and acknowledged the chants of ‘mahant ji’ with a nod and a smile.

“It is a historic moment for Ayodhya to witness a saffron-clad CM paying obeisance at the Hanuman Garhi temple,” said a resident of Ayodhya, Sanjay Kumar.

Adityanath is the chief priest of Gorakhnath Temple in Gorakhpur, a post which he holds even after becoming the chief minister.

As he left Hanuman Garhi, local youths followed the cavalcade on motorcycles.

After offering prayer at Ram Janmbhoomi, Yogi visited Ram ki Paidhi ghat and offered prayers on the banks of river Sarayu, which holds religious importance for Hindus.

First Published: May 31, 2017 13:49 IST