Saturday, August 2, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

PM, Advani vow to build Ram temple
Thousands attend Paramhans’ funeral
Our Correspondent

Ayodhya, August 1
By the burning pyre of the chief of the Ram Janmabhoomi Trust, Mahant Ram Chandra Paramhans, the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, pledged that a Ram temple would be built at the disputed place in Ayodhya as per the wishes of the late mahant.

The pyre was lit by Vaishnav Das Shastri, a disciple of Paramhans, amidst the chanting of vedic hymns.

Addressing thousands of mourners at the Tulsi Ghat on the bank of River Saryu, the Prime Minister said it was the mahant’s dream to build a temple at Ram Janmabhoomi.

“We will fulfil his wish. We are confident that all impediments in the way of the construction of Ram temple would be removed,” he said.

Mr Vajpayee, who had avoided Ayodhya ever since the Babri mosque was demolished on December 6, 1992, said everyone would have to make efforts to make the wish of the mahant come true.

“I believe that good sense will prevail upon those who are opposing the construction of the temple in Ayodhya,” the Prime Minister said.

Addressing mourners from a makeshift dais, built near the burning pyre of the mahant, Mr Vajpayee said Paramhans struggled till his last breath for the construction of the Ram temple. “He knew about the difficulties and had told me that the struggle for Ram temple will continue,” the PM said.

It was the mahant’s desire and dream to see that India become a great nation — happy and prosperous. “Nobody can deny his dedication, devotion and struggle,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani said the greatest tribute to the mahant would be to give a sheen to the existing make-shift temple at the sanctum sanctorum.

There are three ways to build the temple — through talks, court or legislation, said Mr Advani. It would be better if a consensus was arrived at to build a temple at the place where Lord Ram was born.

“A temple is destined to be built there,” he declared

Meanwhile, the statements of the PM and DPM have brought cheer in the VHP camp. “It is a welcome statement. We are elated at the direct commitment of the PM and DPM towards the construction of the temple at Ayodhya,” VHP international president Ashok Singhal said.

“We believe that the PM and DPM are bound by the NDA agenda and coalition dharma. But we wanted to hear their personal views. And today, by the side of the burning pyre, both declared that the mandir should be built at Ram Janmabhoomi,” Mr Singhal added.

Earlier, the body of the seer was taken around in a procession in Ayodhya.


New nyas chief Gopal Das adopts soft approach

Ayodhya, August 1
The newly appointed Sri Ramj janmabhoomi Nyas chairman Mahant Nritya Gopal Das has said he would strive for a peaceful resolution to the Ram temple construction.

Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, who was till recently the Nyas Vice-Chairman, was appointed to the trust’s top post after a meeting of the nyas members this morning.

Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, is the sixth mahant of the 250-year-old Maniram Das Chhawni here. The mahant received his education at Ayodhya and Varanasi. He studied Vedanta at Varanasi Sanskrit University and arrived in the temple town in 1964. After taking over, the mahant seems to have adopted a soft line approach towards the vexed Ayodhya issue.

Talking to reporters, the mahant said he would work towards the construction of the Ram temple taking along all communities in the country. “I will strive to realise the long-cherished dream of Mahant Paramhans,” he added.


BJP to raise foreign origin issue

L.K. AdvaniNew Delhi, August 1
The Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, has said the BJP will raise the issue of foreign origin of the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, in the coming Lok Sabha elections and accused the Opposition of making Hindutava a poll issue.

“It will obviously be raised by the BJP,” he said, when asked in an interview on Zee News if his party will raise the issue in the elections.

First it was the party (Congress) which got into the issue of foreign origin of its leader leading to its division and there was no other difference between the leaders who left the party at that time, Mr Advani said in a reference to the exit of Mr Sharad Pawar and others on the issue.

Even a former Lok Sabha Speaker resigned saying that no person of foreign origin could become a President or Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister said, adding that the “issue has since been there and has not vanished”.

On Hindutava, Mr Advani said “since 1952 elections when the Bharatiya Jan Sangh was a small party, it was charged with communalism and criticised as being against secularism. And when our opponents charge us, secularism and Hindutava become issues. Therefore, it had never happened that Hindutava has not become an election issue”.

“This time also it will happen,” Mr Advani said. — PTI

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