Saturday, March 16, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Prophets of doom proved wrong: BJP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 15
The BJP today claimed that the peaceful ‘shila daan’ (handing over of pillar) for the Ram temple at Ayodhya was an evidence of government’s promise of maintaining peace and law and order in Ayodhya and said the “prophets of doom” had once again been proved wrong.

Addressing newspersons, BJP Parliamentary Party spokesman Vijay Kumar Malhotra said the information so far had shown that there was no problem and the event had passed off without any untoward incident despite some ‘vested interests’ making attempts to incite violence by provoking the sadhus not to accept the decision of Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas performing “shila daan pooja” outside the disputed area.

Mr Malhotra said the BJP appreciated the stand taken by Ramachandra Paramhans to abide by the court directives.

The spokesman said Kanchi Shankaracharya who had distanced himself from finding solution to the Ayodhya tangle should help the country find a solution by continuing his talks with the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board. Such issues could be solved only through negotiation, he stressed.

He defended the Central Government representative receiving “shila” (pillar) meant for Ram temple outside the disputed and undisputed temple land. The “shila” received today would be used for temple construction whenever the court gave its judgement.


Sonia flays govt on Ayodhya
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 15
Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Congress President, Sonia Gandhi today launched a scathing attack on the government for caving in to pressure from communal forces in Ayodhya and criticised Union Home Minister L.K. Advani for giving a clean chit to the Gujarat Government.

Participating in the debate on the motion of thanks to the President’s address in the Lok Sabha, Mrs Gandhi tore apart the government on several issues, including its strategy on national security.

A similar debate was also on in the Rajya Sabha, with the highlight being NDA ally Telegu Desam’s warning to the government against pursuing wrong priorities.

Terming Ayodhya as an “irrelevant issue”, Telugu Desam member C. Ramachandaiah took exception to the government urging some quarters to accept the Supreme Court ruling. He said there were other serious issues like crores of persons facing economic deprivation which required the attention of the government.

Mrs Gandhi, in her intervention, said there was no substitute for firm and resolute action on the Ayodhya issue.

Alleging that the BJP-led coalition had taken a ‘U-turn’ on the issue, she said the explanation was that several BJP MPs, in a letter to the Prime Minister on March 7, had threatened his government with ‘dire consequences’.

Mrs Gandhi said she has documents with her regarding the sudden shift in government policy, including the letter of BJP MPs.

Turning to Gujarat, she blasted the Narendra Modi government over the handling of recent incidents of violence in the state, saying the ‘complicity’ of the government in the incidents stood exposed.

She demanded a judicial probe into the violence by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court.

On the issue of national security, Mrs Gandhi said there was ‘no evidence’ of a clear-cut strategy on the part of the government on Jammu and Kashmir and that people in the state continued to suffer while security forces faced grave risk.

She regretted that even after two years of its submission, the House had been kept in the dark on the report of the Subrahmanyan Committee on Kargil conflict and its implementation.

The Congress leader wanted to know from the government the progress on the list of 20 terrorists and criminals wanted from Pakistan, whether Islamabad’s approach to cross-border terrorism had changed and the response of the international community to the speech of President Pervez Musharraf on January 12.Back

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