Sunday, February 23, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Sansad to intensify stir
VHP calls for Central legislation on land
Tribune News Service

VHP working president Ashok Singhal and party's general secretary Pravin Togadia
VHP working president Ashok Singhal and party's general secretary Pravin Togadia during the Dharam Sansad in New Delhi on Saturday, — Tribune photo Mukesh Aggarwal

New Delhi, February 22
The VHP-sponsored Dharam Sansad today threatened to intensify its country wide agitation next month to press for possession of the acquired land in Ayodhya and hold dharnas and demonstrations to highlight the “reality” of those “opposed” to the temple construction.

However, the much-touted three-day Dharam Sansad shied away from announcing a fresh date for the beginning of the construction of Ram Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya.

“This time we are unlikely to announce the date for the commencement of construction,” VHP general secretary Pravin Togadia, who briefed the mediapersons on the day’s proceedings, said.

The VHP’s problem over the announcement of a fresh date for construction was evident when Mr Togadia said “we want that the Central Government should issue an executive order for the handing over of 67 acres of “undisputed” land if the Supreme Court gives necessary clarification on the issue.”

“We strongly believe that the only legal solution for the temple issue is Central legislation for handing over of the land,” Mr Togadia said, maintaining that some more “hard steps” would be announced in the next two days of the Dharam Sansad.

Earlier, a three-point resolution passed before a large gathering of saints here at Ram Lila grounds expressed “intense anguish” over the NDA government’s “slackness” in resolving the matter and warned that this failure would cost it “dearly”.

“To fulfil the resolve of the Ram Sevaks who have made sacrifices from the days when Babur destroyed the Ram Janambhoomi temple till the conspiracy of February 27, 2002, in Godhra, and for the temple construction dharnas and demonstrations will be organised in each city from February 27 and the reality of those opposed to temple construction highlighted,” the resolution said.

With regard to the Central Government’s “indifference, incapability and neglect”, the resolution proposed intensification of the public movement through “dharam yatras (religious marches) and dharam sabhas (religious meetings)” from March 5 to 24.

A crucial meeting of the Dharam Sansad of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad began this morning to take a final decision on the construction of Ram Temple at Ayodhya with a call to fight till finish for the realisation of the objective.

The three-day Dharam Sansad, being attended by about 10,000 saints from across the country and Nepal was inaugurated by VHP Working President Ashok Singhal amidst chanting of Vedic hymns and shouting of slogans.

“After successive governments failed to find a solution to enable the temple construction, sants had high expectations from the BJP. But the manner in which the government had been dilly-dallying over the handing over of the 67 acres of undisputed land to the VHP proves its insensitive approach to the temple construction,” Mr Singhal said in his opening remarks at the Dharam Sansad.

The VHP has declared that the Dharam Sansad is the last and final word on the issue of temple construction at Ayodhya and said the congregation of sants will take an ‘’unprecedented decision’’ on the Ram Janmabhoomi movement.

The Dharam Sansad is likely to record its anguish over the government’s “insensitive” approach towards temple construction at the birth place of Rama in violation of the wish and desire of millions of Hindus across the globe.

At a meeting of the Marg Darshak Mandal yesterday, held as a precursor to the Dharam Sansad, leaders made a vociferous demand for the immediate handing over of the 67 acres of undisputed land to start temple construction and said they were prepared for a confrontation with the Centre on the issue.

The VHP insists that the 1994 ruling about handing over of the undisputed land at Ayodhya to its original owner still stands and there was nothing which prevented the government from returning the land to the VHP.

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