Tuesday, March 12, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

No puja till SC verdict: PM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 11
In a significant statement, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today assured the Lok Sabha that the government would not permit any activity on the undisputed site in Ayodhya till the Supreme Court gave its verdict.

The assurance came when the Prime Minister intervened during an impromptu discussion in the Lower House.

Reiterating his government’s commitment to the NDA manifesto and assurances it had given in the President’s Address, Mr Vajpayee said the government had not so far allowed the Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas to undertake any work in Ayodhya and was waiting for the highest court’s directives on March 13.

However, Mr Vajpayee chose to overlook the VHP’s threat to conduct ‘bhoomi pujan’ at the undisputed site from March 15 irrespective of the court judgement.

The Prime Minister did not agree with the Opposition’s charge that the situation in Ayodhya was tense saying that the security had been strengthened there and no untoward incidents had been reported.

As many as 41 companies of the CRPF, 23 companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and 500 UP policemen were camping there, he informed the House and added that the situation was peaceful and under control.

Asserting that there had been total turnaround in the situation after the Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas had been brought into the picture, Mr Vajpayee said the nyas had given a commitment that it would abide by the court verdict even if it went against it. This is at variance with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s contention that matters of faith cannot be adjudicated by the courts.

The nyas had asked the government’s permission to conduct ‘yajana’ at the undisputed site that was taken over by the government after the demolition of Babri masjid. Though the government has taken the legal opinion on the plea, the matter will be decided by the Supreme Court during its hearing on March 13.

Stating that conducive atmosphere had been created for the resolution of the dispute after the intervention of Shankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, the Prime Minister said the government was taking advantage of the situation to bring about a negotiated settlement.

On the lifting of movement restrictions in Ayodhya, Mr Vajpayee said this had to be done in view of the inconvenience caused to the people of the area.

Earlier raising the issue, former Prime Minister H.D. Devegowda expressed concern over the developments in Ayodhya and alleged that the Union Ministers and the VHP leaders were speaking in different tones on the issue.

While Defence Minister George Fernandes had said the UP Government had called for the deployment of the Army in view of the apprehension of law and order problem in Ayodhya, state Governor Vishnu Kant Shastri said the Army had been put on alert.

Mr Gowda also took exception to the manner in which Minister of State for Home I.D. Swami had announced removal of restrictions on the movement of kar sewaks in Ayodhya.

Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav (Samajwadi Party) said the Army should be given charge of maintaining law and order in Ayodhya. The Central and U P Governments could not be trusted to maintain a status quo at the disputed site. The VHP, the RSS and the Bajrang Dal were all hand in gloves with one another and being promoted by the BJP, he said.

Mr Somnath Chatterjee (CPM) said the Opposition was not being taken into confidence by the government about the developments in the temple city.

There was a serious situation threatening national unity and integrity due to the adamant attitude adopted by the VHP to go ahead with its plan to perform symbolic ‘bhoomipujan’ in Ayodhya, ignoring all sane people to desist from such a move in the national interest, he added.

Congress Chief Whip Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi also expressed concern over the serious development in Adodhya and demanded statement on issue from the Prime Minister.

Dr Raguvansh Prasad Singh (RJD) shared the view expressed by other members and said the government should take the Lok Sabha into confidence.

Deputy Speaker P.M. Sayeed had earlier disallowed notices for adjournment motion on the Ayodhya issue given by Mr Yadav and RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, saying they could express their views when the House took up a discussion today on communal violence in Gujarat.

Rejecting Mr Yadav’s allegation that “Ayodhya is burning”, the Prime Minister said “Ayodhya is quiet” and the Ramjanmabhoomi Trust had given a written commitment that it would abide by the court verdict.

Stating this was a “major shift” in the stand of the Trust, Mr Vajpayee lauded the efforts of Kanchi Shankaracharya to find a way saying all parties concerned should utilise this opportunity since there was nothing like a negotiated settlement.

The Prime Minister, however, said some restrictions had been removed in Ayodhya as they were causing undue hardships to the residents of the temple town.Back

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