Ram Lalla not kept warm, VHP cries foul, gets refuted by temple priest
Although the head priest of the temple, Satyendra Das refuted the allegations, VHP leaders plan to meet Faizabad divisional commissioner Manoj Mishra, the court-appointed receiver of the temple, to register their protest.lucknow Updated: Dec 20, 2017 13:51 IST
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has threatened to protest over the alleged neglect of Ram Lalla (baby Ram) in the makeshift temple at Ayodhya’s disputed Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid site during winter.
Although the head priest of the temple, Satyendra Das refuted the allegations, VHP leaders plan to meet Faizabad divisional commissioner Manoj Mishra, the court-appointed receiver of the temple, to register their protest.
“Local media reports suggest neither enough woollens nor heaters have been provided for Ram Lalla. The priests of the temple and the district administration tasked with maintenance of the Lord’s abode have to ensure this (enough warmth). If they can’t, then sants and the VHP are ready to take up the responsibility,” VHP’s Ayodhya-based leader Sharad Sharma said.
Das, who was caught by surprise by the VHP’s charge, refuted the accusation.
“I have been the priest of the temple from 1992 and we haven’t deviated from the set practice we have followed since then, both in serving food as well as in clothing Ram Lalla. I don’t know why this is being raised now,” Das told HT over phone from Ayodhya.
Sources said the VHP’s call could be a ploy to keep the temple issue boiling, especially in December, the month when Babri Masjid was pulled down by a mob of kar sevaks on December 6, 1992, nearly 43 years after the idols were found inside mosque on December 22-23, 1949.
Mishra, the receiver of the makeshift temple, said anyone is free to meet me, “but I doubt if the VHP charge has any basis”.
Das said heaters aren’t provided inside the makeshift temple but that’s for a reason. The idols inside the makeshift temple are currently covered by a cloth canopy.
“It’s to prevent any mishap,” he said.
Every month, the head priest of the makeshift temple gets Rs 76,000 for maintenance of the temple from the receiver.
This includes Rs 51,000 for the salary of the five priests and four other employees. Only these nine persons are allowed inside the makeshift temple.
Besides, another Rs 24,100 is provided for the various meals for Ram Lalla, his three baby brothers Laxman, Bharat and Shatrughan, as well as Lord Hanuman.
The amount also goes in dressing them up. The dress changes with the weather — cotton in summer, woollens and blankets in winter.
Each day, the idols are dressed in a different colour — white, red, green, yellow, cream, blue and pink for each of the seven days.
The dresses were stitched since 1985 by Ayodhya’s Babu Lal tailor till his death in 1994 after which his son Bhagwat Prasad ‘Pahadi’ and Shanker Lal took up the task.
The amount that goes towards meeting the salaries, the dresses of the idols and food is met through the donations and offerings made by the devotees. The offerings are counted every 15 days.
First Published: Dec 20, 2017 13:49 IST