Monday, February 24, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Sants to gherao Parliament today
Discard negotiations
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 23
In a sudden development, the Dharam Sansad being organised by the VHP, today announced a gherao of Parliament tomorrow to mark the beginning of a ‘decisive battle’ for the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

The announcement in this regard was made by VHP’s firebrand leader Acharya Dharmendra amidst chanting of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ by a large number of sants gathered at the Ram Lila Grounds here.

The VHP, till yesterday, was shying away from having a direct confrontation with the BJP-led NDA government and had passed a resolution on the opening day of the Dharam Sansad yesterday that it would launch a massive countrywide agitation on February 27.

Interestingly, a debate on the Ayodhya issue is scheduled in the Lok Sabha in the post-lunch session on February 26.

VHP General Secretary Praveen Togadia said about 10,000 sants, participating in the three-day Dharam Sansad, would gherao the Parliament in a ‘peaceful’ manner to mark the beginning of a ‘decisive’ battle for the Ram Temple.

In a high-pitched speech, Mr Togadia said it was wrong to say that the VHP was playing politics for ensuring electoral victory of the BJP or defeat of the Congress.

“We will support only those politicians and parties that support the sentiments of crores of Hindus and promise to build a grand temple at Ayodhya,” he asserted.

Mr Togadia, who campaigned openly for the BJP in Gujarat recently, came down heavily on the political leadership of the country saying it was due to their inaction that the sants had to come on street for the cause.

The battlefield was ready for what he described as the last fight for the ‘religious independence’ of the country.

“Now the final battle has been launched and the VHP would further intensify the temple movement by organising 2000 meetings across the country from March 5 to 24,” he said, adding “We have reached a point of no return in this direction and the sants will not relax till the grand temple is built.”

Mr Togadia further said that the sants had finally discarded any effort in the direction of a negotiated settlement of the Ayodhya temple issue saying there could not be any compromise on the historical events. The 450-year-old history of the Ramjanambhoomi in Ayodhya was a proven fact and required no negotiations, he added.

Besides Mr Togadia, senior VHP functionaries like President Ashok Singhal and prominent sants like Shankaracharya Swami Vasudevanand Saraswati, chairman of the Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas Samiti, Mahant Ram Chandra Das Paramhans, Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, Mahant Avaidyanath, Acharya Dharmendra and Swami Vasudevacharya will also take part in tomorrow’s gherao.

Earlier, in a resolution the Dharam Sansad said fight against ‘jehadi terrorism’ and struggle for a Ram Temple at Ayodhya were complementary and demanded a ban on madarasas and ‘terrorist Muslim outfits’ preaching ‘jehad’.

The resolution titled ‘Mandir banao, aatankwad mitao’ (build temple, crush terrorism), described destruction of the Ram Temple at the hands of Babar as a ‘terrorist act’ and said its reconstruction now would be a crucial step in the fight against terrorism.

“It was also necessary to eliminate the ideological basis of terrorism and this can be done by closing down institutions like Darul Uloom Deoband and banning other bodies which preach jehad,” the resolution said.

The resolution, however, that “though not all Muslims were terrorists, but most of the terrorists in the world were followers of Islam.”

A ban on religious conversions and check on illegal Bangladeshi immigrants were also part of the fight against forces opposed to Hindus’ interest, said various other resolutions passed by the apex body of Hindu religious leaders on the second day of the Dharam Sansad.

Meanwhile, keeping in view the call given by the VHP to ‘gherao’ the Parliament, the Delhi Police is making massive security arrangements in and around the Parliament. The New Delhi District police, in association with the Central District police, will deploy a large number of policemen to ensure that the VHP programme passes off without any untoward incident.

Companies of the Central paramilitary forces and Rapid Action Forces have also been summoned for deployment.

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