Monday, March 11, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

VHP adamant on symbolic puja

New Delhi, March 10
The VHP today declared that it would go ahead with the symbolic puja on March 15 near the disputed site in Ayodhya.

“We are determined to go ahead with the puja on March 15,” VHP General Secretary Pravin Togadia told reporters here shortly after the All India Muslim Personal Law Board rejected Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi’s proposal for a puja and construction of Ram Temple in the undisputed land. 

The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, has underlined the need for the continuation of a dialogue between representatives of the Hindu and Muslim communities for finding an amicable solution to the Ayodhya issue and said “if India is not secular India is not India at all.” 

Asked specifically whether the VHP would respect the verdict of the apex court which is scheduled to hear two petitions on the proposed puja on March 13, Mr Togadia shot back saying “how can we say now that the Supreme Court will not protect the fundamental right of the Hindu society to perform puja at the undisputed site.”

To another question as to what would be VHP’s stand if the verdict went against it, he said: “We have the democratic right to agitate peacefully as per the rights given by the Constitution.”

Mr Togadia declined to go any further on the issue saying how could one anticipate what the court was going to pronounce.

Lashing out at Vajpayee government for “failing to protect the interests of the Hindus,” he said “the government is losing the sympathy of the Hindu community not by the day but by the hour.

Asked about the decision of All-India Muslim Personal Law Board rejecting the Kanchi seer’s proposal, Mr Togadia said no Muslim organisation had any right in the undisputed land in Ayodhya.

Asserting that there was no change in the VHP plan to go ahead with the puja on March 15, the Togadia said while 100s to 1000s of kar sevaks would move to Ayodhya on that day, processions would be taken out throughout the country to mark the beginning of temple construction. “On that day, the entire country will turn into Ayodhya,’’ he said.

On the stand taken by several political parties and groups that the VHP was not the sole representative of the Hindus, Mr Togadia said while the responsibility of the temple construction was that of the Trust, the VHP had been asked to create mass awareness in this regard.

On police firing in Canning near Kolkata in which one person was killed, he demanded action by the West Bengal government against officers who had given orders to fire on “unarmed Ram bakhts.”

He also charged the authorities with bowing to the pressure from Muslim organisations.

In Ayodhya, the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas President Mahant Ramchandra Das Paramhans on Sunday expressed his unhappiness with only a “symbolic” puja at the undisputed site, saying many sacrifices have been made for the construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.

“It is not clear to me why 58 persons sacrificed their lives for a symbolic puja? All sacrifices have been made to build the temple,” he told ‘Aaj Tak’. PTI 


Two masjid panel leaders, Mann held
Tribune News Service

Simranjit Singh Mann
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP and president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), going to Ayodhya for peace after submitting a memorandum to US General Secretary Kofi Anan, at Gurdwara Rakab Ganj in New Delhi on Sunday.

New Delhi, March 10
The Delhi police today detained Mohammad Yunus Siddiqui and Mohammad Kamran Siddiqui, president and general secretary, respectively, of the All-India Babri Masjid Rebuilding Committee (AIBMRBC) who had a plan to take out a ‘rath yatra’ today from Capital in protest against the VHP’s bhoomi pooja at undisputed site at Ayodhya.

Mohammad Yunus Siddiqui was picked up from his Zakir Nagar residence in South Delhi late last night while Kamran was picked up from the venue from where the rath yatra was to begin. They have been detained under preventive sections with a view to maintain peace and communal harmony, the police said.

Besides, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP and President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and his 300 party workers and senior leaders from Punjab and Delhi were also arrested at Uttar Pradesh border by the police and sent to a jail while they were undertaking the peace march to Ayodhya from New Delhi in protest against the state terrorism against minorities and to oppose right wing ultra nationalists from spoiling the communal harmony in the country.

Mr Mann said “We want the Babri Masjid site to be preserved and no temple should be built at this place. We, however, advocate that Hindu temple can be built on the undisputed area in Ayodhya.”

Sources in the AIBMRBC said that it planned to take out the rath yatra in protest against the VHP’s programme to conduct ‘bhoomi pooja’ on the undisputed land in Ayodhya on March 15.

Mr Kamran told newsmen, “Our top leaders and many supporters have been detained. Spokesman of the AIBMRBC, Mohammad Athar Siddiqui said at least 500 members would have participated to the yatra.Back

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