October 23, 2000,
Construction date in Jan: VHP
NEW DELHI, Oct 22 — The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) today reiterated that the Supreme Court had no locus standi on deciding the Ayodhya temple issue and announced a series of programmes in the run-up to construction of Ram Temple at the disputed site.
It also said that the construction date would be decided by a “dharam sansad” (religious leaders) at the “Maha Kumbh” to be held in Allahabad in January next year.
Briefing mediapersons about the two-day session of VHP’s Central Advisory Council (Margdarshak Mandal) in Goa on October 18-19, the VHP Senior Vice-President, Acharya Giriraj Kishore said: “The council has authorised the dharam sansad, which will meet in January, 2001, on the occasion of Kumbh at Allahabad to decide on the date of construction of the temple.”
The VHP had earlier said that the tentative date would be fixed in Goa, which would be later endorsed in Allahabad.
Acharya Kishore said a temple construction committee led by Mahant Ramchandra Das, head of the Ramjanmabhoomi Trust, had been formed to facilitate early construction of the temple.
The Goa conclave, attended by top VHP leaders and prominent religious leaders, constituted a sub-committee under the convenership of BJP MP Swami Chinmayananda. It would endeavour to build public opinion in its favour through Parliament, Assemblies and the media”, he said.
In the first phase of the run-up to the construction, VHP activists would fan out to over three lakh villages across the country, set up ‘Ram sankeertan mandals’ and collect signatures on a resolve to build the temple.
A mass awareness campaign to be launched after the ‘Kumbh’ would be on the lines of the ‘Ram shila pujan’ (brick worship across the country), which had eventually led to the demolition of the disputed structure at Ayodhya on December 6, 1992, he said.
In the second phase, one or two senior religious leaders would extensively tour the country to educate the people on the issue, the VHP leader said.
The objective of the movement, he said, was to put pressure on the government to allow construction of the temple.
Asked whether the BJP allies in the NDA would permit such a move, Acharya Kishore said: “the parties which oppose temple construction will deprive themselves of votes... don’t they want votes?”
Reiterating the VHP stand that the Supreme Court had no locus standi on the issue, he said even the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court had observed that in the Ram Temple case, certain issues were involved which could be solved by any court.
Asked about the VHP stand in the event of a negative verdict from the Supreme Court, Acharya Kishore said: “If the government can subvert the apex court’s judgement in the Shah Bano case, it can do so in this case too.”
The mass awareness campaign would force the government to convince the court to allow temple construction, he said.
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