Wednesday, July 9, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

VHP wants law on temple
Scope still for talks, says Shahabuddin
Tribune News Service and PTI

Ayodhya, July 8
The VHP today said with the rejection of Kanchi Sankaracharya’s proposals on Ayodhya, enactment of a law by Parliament for building a temple was the only solution and warned of a mass movement against political parties which opposed it.

Addressing a press conference, VHP President Ashok Singhal said the political parties should clarify their stand whether they favoured a Central legislation to resolve the Ayodhya tangle.

“Ms Sonia Gandhi, Samajwadi Party, other parties and those belonging to the NDA should decide not to issue the whip in pursuance of their party policies and allow MPs to vote freely according to their conscience.

“But in case a whip is issued, the VHP would have no other option but to launch a mass movement against the parties which oppose the construction of a temple,” he said.

Mr Singhal said the VHP’s programme of mobilising support from MPs for a supporting a legislation was continuing and so far 169 MPs had given their written consent to it. The programme would continue during the coming monsoon session.

Appreciating the efforts of the Kanchi seer to resolve the temple issue, Mr Singhal said he had put forward “reasonable” proposals to resolve the matter amicably, but regretted their rejection by the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB).

The rejection was “disgraceful and humiliating” to the seer, he said.

The VHP supremo said that the seer’s proposals of July 1 reflected the sentiments of the saints and seers in the country though his earlier proposals sent to the AIMPLB on June 24 last were “not in conformity” with the views of the saint community.

The Shankaracharya was a respected personality in the country and he had made a sincere effort to resolve the Ayodhya issue, Mr Singhal said.

Replying to a question about his demand for the resignation of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Mr Singhal said Mr Vajpayee should either get a law enacted for the temple construction or leave his post and go to the people.

To a question about the Supreme Court’s order on the acquired land, he said Parliament was the supreme body and had the necessary powers to enact the law.

New Delhi: Two days after All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) rejected the Shankaracharya formula on Ayodhya, two of its prominent members on Tuesday asserted that there was still scope for a “honourable solution” through negotiations and asked the government to directly initiate the move.

“In a democracy there is always scope for negotiations... The government should directly hold talks with the parties concerned in the Ayodhya dispute privately and once the solution is found it could then make it public,” senior AIMPLB leader and former MP Syed Shahabuddin said here in the presence of VHP International President Vishnu Hari Dalmia and BJP MP B.P. Singhal.

He was speaking at a discussion on “Ayodhya — The Way Out” organised by the Centre for Peace and Progress at India International Centre.

Mr Shahabuddin, who was highly critical of the manner in which Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati was “pressured” to contradict his own formula spelled out in his June 16 letter, said, “If a negotiated settlement could not be found, then it is best to wait for the court verdict.”

“I have been closely related to the Ramjanmabhoomi issue and I am confident that in the next one year or one-and-a-half years the court will give verdict,” Mr Shahabuddin said.

AIMPLB Working Committee member Kamal Farooqui said, “The failure of the negotiations initiated by the Shankaracharya is painful for all those who were vying for a settlement.”

Mr Farooqui, however, ruled out the possibility of “gifting” away the disputed area to the Hindus.

“Any negotiated settlement should be honourable, reasonable, judicious and reached keeping in view the sentiments of the people of the country, which includes the Muslims,” he said.

BJP rejects demand for PM’s resignation

New Delhi, July 8
The BJP today rejected as “baseless” the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s demand for Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s resignation following his “failure” to resolve the Ayodhya tangle.

Discussing political developments ahead of the three-day National Executive meeting at Raipur from July 18 for over two hours at the Prime Minister’s residence, BJP leaders said there was no need to consider the VHP’s demand.

BJP President M. Venkaiah Naidu told reporters after the meeting that the VHP’s demand lacked substance as Mr Vajpayee was backed by the National Democratic Alliance, the BJP and the masses, who wanted him to lead the nation.

He said the BJP also wanted a speedy resolution to the Ayodhya imbroglio and the construction of the Ram Temple. This was the reason it encouraged discussions at various levels, he added.

Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and Finance Minister Jaswant Singh also attended the meeting. — UNIBack

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