Friday, March 8, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

VHP to abide by court verdict
Somersault gives boost to Ayodhya peace move
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 7
Efforts to find a workable solution of the thorny Ayodhya issue today appeared to have received a shot in the arm.

Vishwa Hindu Parishad Working President Ashok Singhal issued a categorical statement that “whichever party wins in the court of law will be given the disputed place and the necessary amount of adjacent land for use”.

Mr Singhal, who addressed a specially convened press conference, sought to put at rest all doubts over the VHP stand that it was not prepared to accept the court verdict.

Mr Singhal had to come out with a clarification as VHP Senior Vice-President Giriraj Kishore’s statements during the last two days had created doubts over the written promise that Mr Singhal had given to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on February 27 this year.

Acharya Kishore had said yesterday that the VHP or the Shriram Janmabhoomi Nyas had not given any undertaking about abiding and accepting the court verdict.

When pressed over Acharya Kishore’s stand, Mr Singhal preferred to buy peace, saying that he was withdrawing the VHP Senior Vice President’s statements.

Asked about Acharya Kishore’s assertion yesterday that the Babri mosque will not be allowed to be rebuilt within the ‘Panchkosi Parikrama’ (12 km comprising almost the whole of Ayodhya), he said, “It is the view of local religious leaders”.

Another reason for Mr Singhal to issue a clarification is that Shankaracharya of Kanchi Kamkoti Peetham Jayendra Saraswati has expressed his resentment over the VHP’s going back on its undertaking of abiding with the court verdict.

Meanwhile, Jayendra Saraswati today left for Gujarat by a chartered flight in a bid to promote peace and restore normalcy in the riot-torn state.

The Shankaracharya is scheduled to come back to the Capital and resume his efforts to find a workable solution.

The Prime Minister’s Office had also sought a clarification from Mr Singhal about the undertaking and the VHP Working President has again given a written promise that the Shriram Janmabhoomi Nyas would accept the court verdict.

The VHP’s conflicting statements had stiffened the stand of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and other Muslim organisations. They had threatened to pull out of the negotiations, if the VHP “backed out” of the commitment given to the Prime Minister and the Shankaracharya to abide by the court verdict on the disputed land.

With a view to further smoothening the way for negotiations being conducted by the Kanchi Shankaracharya, Mr Singhal said the VHP’s March 15 programme to shift the carved stones to the undisputed site “may be performed in peaceful cheerful, joyous and blessed atmosphere”.

Mr Singhal also went to the extent of saying that the VHP was willing to abandon its plans to build a ‘Garbha Griha’ (sanctum sanctorum) at the disputed site, if the court verdict goes against it. To a question whether the VHP would change its plans which includes the disputed sites as the sanctum sanctorum of the proposed temple, Mr Singhal said, “We will consider it if the verdict is against us.”

Asked specifically whether the VHP would allow the reconstruction of the Babri mosque at the disputed site if the court verdict went in favour of Muslims, he said, “Yes”.

On how a mosque could be built with a temple surrounding it, the VHP leader said there was adequate land adjacent to the disputed site on the western side, besides provision for a link road.

“I am confident that the temple will be built peacefully, without shedding blood of either Hindus or Muslims”, the VHP President said.

Mr Singhal said the VHP was not demanding the immediate transfer of the undisputed land to it and urged the Centre to hand it over to the Trust (nyas) during the performance of the 100-day ‘Purnahuti Yagna’ scheduled to conclude on June two.

He, however, said there was no role for a third party so far as the 43 acres area of the undisputed land was concerned.

The All-India Muslim Personal Law Board tonight welcomed the VHP’s declaration to abide by the court ruling and expressed its willingness to hold talks on the issue, a UNI report said.Back


Govt wary of VHP assurance
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 7
Certain sections in the Atal Behari Vajpayee government continue to be extremely wary about the assurance of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) that it will abide by the verdict of the court on the Ayodhya tangle.

There is reticence on the part of these decision makers about accepting VHP’s seemingly good intentions after pursuing a belligerent and confrontationist approach at face value. This is particularly so because of their track record in the recent past.

Considering the complexities of the situation and the susceptibilities of the parties to the dispute, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee will rather wait for a step-by-step approach so that all the visible and invisible knots are untied before moving forward.

At the same time some ministerialists having the worst apprehensions about the real intentions of the VHP appear to have found some space providing for a ray of hope that the pitch might not be queered in Ayodhya this time by concentrating kar sewaks at the pilgrim centre in Uttar Pradesh on March 15.

Despite the VHP averment here this afternoon that it will accept the verdict of the court in respect of the protracted Ayodhya problem, the BJP-led NDA government is not going to lower its guard. It is acutely aware that they will have to be prepared for all contingencies and imponderables in the wake of the Sangh Parivar’s attempts to whip up a frenzy.

The direct intervention of the Shankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam Jayendra Saraswati to find an amicable solution acceptable to the contending parties as well as the majority and minority communities has had its positive impact so far despite the vagaries and inconsistencies of the VHP and the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB).

The widespread belief in the NDA government is that if the VHP reneges on its assurances given in writing to the Shankaracharya, the organisation’s credibility which is already on the wane will suffer irrevocably.Back

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