Monday, February 11, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


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Temple construction from March 15
PM rejects VHP plea on undisputed land

Artisans work on stones meant for the Ram temple at Abu Road in Rajasthan.
Artisans work on stones meant for the Ram temple at Abu Road in Rajasthan. — PTI photo

Ayodhya, February 10
Stepping up its offensive, the VHP today announced that the construction work of the Ram temple in Ayodhya would begin from March 15 with the carved stone pillars being moved to the site of the shrine from the workshop even as the Centre maintained that it would go by the Supreme Court order on the issue. 

The process of construction will start from a suitable date after March 15 on advice of astrologers, President of Ram Janambhumi Nyas, Mahant Ram Chandra Paramhans, said at a joint press conference with VHP President Ashok Singhal here.

“We have given sufficient time to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to remove the obstacles for construction of Ram temple and we shall wait upto March 12,” Mahant Paramhans said.

Replying to a question on VHP’s ultimatum on Ram temple construction, Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu told reporters in Chennai that the Government would go by the court verdict on the matter. 

The Law Ministry is examining legal and constitutional aspects pertaining to the disputed structure at Ayodhya as well as the non-disputed land around it. “ 

BJP President Jana Krishnamurthy told reporters in Jalandhar that the VHP had not given any deadline to the Centre on the Ayodhya issue.

Once they convey their decision to the government, the Centre would take appropriate steps to maintain the “status quo” of the disputed site as per the Supreme Court order. 

About the announcement that the construction process would start on March 15, Union Minister of State for Home I.D. Swami said “we must have definite information from our sources and we would not go on the basis of what we hear or what we read in the papers.” 

Mr Singhal demanded that the 47 acre undisputed acquired land be handed over to the trust as it did not include the disputed land measuring 80x40 feet.

Mahant Paramahans said since the Muslims had already agreed that there was no graveyard at the site, the construction of the temple could start without any hitch.

BELLARY (Karnataka): Meanwhile, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had bluntly told VHP leaders that he would rather resign than hand over the land to them for building the temple, a prominent pontiff of the mandir movement claimed on Sunday.

Viswesha Teertha Swamiji, senior seer of Udupi-based Pejawar Mutt, who was in the VHP delegation that called on the Prime Minister recently, said Mr Vajpayee rejected their demand to hand over the undisputed land to VHP, saying that he could not go against the NDA.

Mr Vajpayee said he preferred resignation to handing over the land to the VHP, the swamiji, one of the founders of the VHP who is also the Ram Mandir Nirman Shilanyas Committee Vice-President, told reporters here.

VHP leaders, he said, first made a plea to Mr Vajpayee to give the disputed land to it, but he rejected it following which they pleaded for handing over at least the undisputed land but again in vain.

The seer said they had proposed two alternatives to the Prime Minister to get a direction from the court at the earliest or to form a committee to find a solution to the dispute.

He also said he favoured resumption of dialogue with Muslim leaders to end the dispute but hastened to add that this was his personal opinion and he would abide by “whatever decision is taken by the VHP”. Agencies

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