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Sunday, Aug 18, 2019

Yogi Adityanath happy over people’s rekindled hope for Ram temple

The Uttar Pradesh chief minister said his government will support any step to resolve the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute through dialogue.

lucknow Updated: Jul 04, 2017 12:05 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
UP chief ministerYogi Adityanath prayed at the makeshift Ram temple in Ayodhya this May.
UP chief ministerYogi Adityanath prayed at the makeshift Ram temple in Ayodhya this May.(Subhankar Chakraborty/HT PHOTO)

People’s rekindled hope for a Ram temple in Ayodhya is a good thing, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath said in a television interview on Sunday, reiterating that Hindus and Muslim should talk and resolve the dispute.

The 44-year-old priest-politician visited and prayed at the makeshift Ram temple in Ayodhya this May, the state’s first chief minister do so in 15 years. Also, he stated that his government will support any step to resolve the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute through dialogue.

In an interview to a private TV channel this weekend in Varanasi, he said: “Logon mein Ram mandir ke liye umeed jagna achcha baat hai.”

His remarks are significant since the BJP is committed to building a permanent Ram temple, which has been pivotal to the party’s politics.

The temporary temple is located within a 2.7-acre disputed plot, where the Mughal-era Babri Masjid stood before it was demolished by thousands of kar sevaks or supporters of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on December 6, 1992. Many Hindus believe the mosque was built on top of the birthplace of god Ram.

The demolition triggered riots across the country, killing more than 3,000 people, and the site remains India’s most potent religious flashpoint. Many Muslim groups want the mosque rebuilt.

The Supreme Court is hearing the case.

Yogi, who is the head priest of the Gorakhnath shrine in Gorakhpur, repeated his recent statement on Taj Mahal that the most popular Mughal-era monument in the world should not be linked with Indian culture.

“It is not India’s identity,” he said, but contended that Hinduism is the most secular religion.

The chief minister, who is a Thakur from Uttarakhand by birth, dismissed allegations that the community is dominating the powers corridors since he took office this March.

“There is no Thakur raj in the state,” he said and asserted: “There is no hooliganism by the saffron brigade (right-wing Hindu outfits) either.”

The first test his government faced after coming to power with an overwhelming majority in the February-March assembly polls is caste clashes in Saharanpur.

But Yogi said: “The mining mafia was behind the clashes and then there was a conspiracy to turn the clashes casteist.”

The BJP’s poll promise was to improve law and order in the state, which the party alleged plummeted under the previous Samajwadi Party government.

Yogi said law and order has improved now, and FIRs and charge-sheets were filed in criminal cases.

Among the chief minister’s first orders since taking power was to implement the party’s poll promise of banning all illegal abattoirs. He repeated that his government will not allow any illegal slaughterhouses to operate.

“The decision to close illegal slaughterhouses was in sync with orders of the Supreme Court and the NGT (National Green Tribunal),” he said, deflecting criticism that the move was linked to cow protection, which has spawned vigilantes and attacks on cattle traders and beef-eaters.

“Cow protection is Sanatan Hindu tradition” but no one will be allowed to take the law in his hands in the name of “gau raksha”, said the chief minister, who champions cow protection and keeps a bunch of cattle at his temple.

His remarks were in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stern warning on Thursday against mob attacks on cattle traders, beef-eaters and dairy farmers, saying killing people in the name of protecting cows is unacceptable.

Such attacks waged by so-called cow vigilantes in India have targeted mostly Muslims. Cows are considered sacred by many Hindus, and slaughtering cattle or eating beef is illegal or restricted across much of the country.

Another much-debated move by the Yogi government was the setting up of anti-Romeo police squads that target couples at public places, especially parks.

Yogi defended the step, saying the drive is designed to stop people from harassing women. “t will be a continuous process … and will continue.”

The chief minister had set a June 15 target to repair all roads in Uttar Pradesh to make them “pothole-free”. But the goal has not been achieved.

“It will take the time to fill the holes that are the outcome of sins of previous governments of Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party,” he said.

“Had the previous SP government worked with honesty, there wouldn’t have been potholes on the state’s roads.”

First Published: Jul 02, 2017 18:03 IST

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