Thursday, February 6, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Centre asks SC to lift ban

New Delhi, February 5
Within hours of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s meeting with the Kanchi Shankaracharya, the Centre moved the Supreme Court, seeking vacation of its order banning any kind of religious activity in the 77 acres of land in Ayodhya acquired by the government after the demolition of the disputed structure in 1992.

The application, filed by the government yesterday, sought vacation of the apex court’s March 13, 2002 order, by which on the eve of the controversial “shiladaan’ ceremony organised by the VHP, the court had banned any “kind of religious activity, including shiladaan” in the acquired undisputed land.

Seeking early hearing of a petition filed by Mohammad Aslam, alias Bhure, on which the Supreme Court had passed the interim stay order, the government said as peace prevailed in the area, the ban order could be lifted.

The government said, while passing the interim order, the court had directed listing of the main petition after 10 weeks. It said the 10-week period has elapsed and the petition should, therefore, be listed for early hearing.

Aslam, in his petition, has alleged that the proposed shiladaan ceremony was nothing but an attempt by the VHP and other religious groups to disturb the peace prevailing in the area.

He expressed the apprehension that there were attempts by VHP activists to bring in construction material as well as gather a large number of volunteers to start construction activities on the acquired land.

The government move to file an application before the Supreme Court seeking lifting of the stay was taken immediately after the meeting of Mr Vajpayee with Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati yesterday.

The move was reportedly also discussed between Law Minister Arun Jaitley and the Shankaracharya.

Meanwhile, the VHP adopted an aggressive posture, threatening to launch a people’s movement if the government did not allow the construction of the Ram temple on the acquired land in Ayodhya by February 23.

VHP International General Secretary Praveen Togadia told mediapersons here today that 10,000 religious leaders and saints from all over the country will assemble here for a two-day conference on February 22 and 23. PTI


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