Sunday, September 28, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

We have no faith in PM, says Togadia
Satish Misra
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 27
Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Pravin Togadia today chose to attack the BJP aggressively on its own turf when he criticised Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and lashed out at minorities at a meeting of the party’s Minority Cell. A cleric, Maulana Naeem Ahmed, had to go twice on the podium to tick off the aggressive VHP leader.

Mr Togadia chose to drop all pretension of observing the responsibilities of a guest when he said, “No one can protect the minorities in the country. This can be possible only if they are able to get the love of the majority. But, love is not a one-way traffic.”

In the presence of an uncomfortable looking BJP general secretary Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Mr Togadia said, “We have no faith in any leader, including Mr Vajpayee, whether they would accept our demand for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.”

Launching his verbal assault on the ruling party in the presence of the about 300-strong gathering of Muslims and Hindus, Mr Togadia said, “I am not taking direction from the BJP. I have my own agenda and if I am not able to achieve the goal of constructing a temple at the Ram janmabhoomi, I should drown myself in the sea.”

He said though the VHP was fighting for the temple construction in Ayodhya, it had not left out Mathura and Kashi.

“Kashi, Mathura and Ayodhya are our holy places. We have asked only for three and not the 30,000 temples which have been converted to mosques. Only when these three are given to Hindus, will there be Hindu-Muslim unity,” he said.

The cleric, Maulana Naeem Ahmed, told the VHP rabble-rouser that it was not proper to make provocative remarks as it would only delude the people and not serve any purpose.

Irked by his sharp remarks, Maulana Ahmed, came to the podium for a second time, and said, “Hindus and Muslims cannot go anywhere, they have to live together. It is not proper to make such remarks.”

He said, “Islam doesn’t say that a temple be broken and a mosque be constructed just as no one can occupy another person’s house forcibly. Mughal history is replete with examples of mosques and temples being constructed side by side. We (Hindus and Muslims) have to live side by side and they cannot go anywhere.”

Earlier, Shankaracharya Madhavananda said it was time members of both communities came together and sorted out the Ayodhya issue through discussion and consensus.

On the ASI report, he said, “Muslims should accept it and not go to court and give up their claim to Ayodhyan the spirit of Islamic tradition.”

The seer said as elections were nearing, it was the BJP which alone could protect the culture and tradition of the country and that “this country has not had a bigger Prime Minister than Mr Vajpayee.”

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