A heavy deployment of police had been made on the banks of the river and after a delay of almost two hours, the programme was not allowed to be held.
Lucknow: About 250 Muslims who had gathered from 10 districts of Uttar Pradesh were prevented from performing wuzu (ablution) in the Saryu river in Ayodhya on Thursday and offer namaz on the banks of the river.
The Muslims had gathered for an event organised by the Rashtriya Muslim Manch (RMM), affiliated to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), with the intention of building consensus among Muslims for building the Ram temple in Ayodhya.
However, the event had landed in controversy when the RSS chose to distance itself from it. The RSS, apparently, did not approve of Muslim presence on the banks of the Saryu in Ayodhya as it would annoy saints and seers.
A heavy deployment of police had been made on the banks of the river and after a delay of almost two hours, the programme was not allowed to be held. The district administration took the decision after a section of saints voiced their opposition to the event. Later, the gathered Muslims went to the mazaar of Hazrat Nooh where they offered prayers and took part in Quran Khwani.
On RSS’ official Twitter handle, Arun Kumar, the Akhil Bhartiya Prachar Pramukh, wrote that reports suggesting that the RSS had organised the event were “baseless and untrue”.
Raza Rizvi, the national media coordinator of RMM who is also a journalist, said, “There never was any programme for offering namaaz.
“A large group of Islamic scholars and clerics came from adjoining districts and wanted to perform wuzu in the running water of Saryu in Ayodhya because it is believed in Islam that running water is pure. The administration did not allow us and we have accepted the decision”.
The RMM leader further said, “It is a misconception that in Ayodhya Muslims are not allowed to practice their religious rights. The other misconception is that the RSS is against Muslims. The event is an effort to give a message to the world that Ayodhya is a place for both Hindus and Muslims. The RSS is a true friend of the Muslims. Both Hindus and Muslims share the same DNA”.
Mr Rizvi said that prayers were offered later to ensure harmony between all communities and for the welfare of the nation. “We believe that these prayers will contribute towards building of Ram temple soon in Ayodhya,” he added.
Dr Parveen Togadia, president of the International Hindu Parishad (IHP), however saw a conspiracy behind the event.
“This is a ploy to pave the way for construction of mosque in Ayodhya and Hindus must beware of such tactics. In the name of nationalism, this façade of Hindu-Muslim unity is being created for political gains”, he said.
UP Shiv Sena vice-president Abhay Dwiwedi echoed similar sentiments. “Such programmes will only serve to weaken Hindutva in the country. The practice of pseudo secularism must stop”, he stated.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad and saints of Ayodhya, who had stayed away from the event, remained tight-lipped.