The apex court is scheduled to start the final hearing of the Ayodhya dispute from December 5.
Udupi(Karnataka): RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Friday made a strong pitch for building the Ram Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya, saying only a mandir and no other structure will come up there.
Addressing the VHP’s Dharma Sansad, a congregation of 2,000 Hindu saints, math heads here, Mr Bhagwat said that there should be no ambiguity about construction of Ram Temple at the site, which is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Ram.
“We will construct it. It is not a populist declaration but a matter of our faith. It will not change,” said the chief of RSS, the BJP’s ideological parent.
Mr Bhagwat’s remarks evoked criticism from Muslim groups that called it a challenge to the Supreme Court before which the dispute is still pending. The raking up of the Ram Temple issue was also described as an attempt to woo voters for the BJP in the Gujarat Assembly polls next month.
The apex court is scheduled to start the final hearing of the Ayodhya dispute from December 5, a day before the 25th anniversary of the demolition of the medieval-era structure.
Earlier, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief said that after years of efforts and sacrifice, it (building the Ram temple) seemed possible now, while also noting that the “matter is in the court.”
“Only Ram Mandir will be constructed and nothing else,” said Mr Bhagwat.
He said that the temple will be constructed with the same grandeur as it existed earlier, using the “same stones” under the guidance of those who are the flag-bearers of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement for the last 25 years.
“We are close to achieving our goal but at this juncture, we should be extra cautious,” he said, cautioning people against forces that divide society.
Construction of the Ram Temple, prevention of religious conversions and cow protection are among the key issues to be discussed at VHP’s three-day Dharma Sansad.
The RSS chief also praised gau rakshaks. He said that people know what happens to cows when they are sold to butchers and linked the surfacing of cow protectors to the callousness of society.
“Society is careless about the status of cows. Those who have concern for cows, stand up to protect them. This leads to conflict in society, earning a bad name to cow protectors,” said Mr Bhagwat.
The RSS supremo also spoke about religious conversions and the need to reach out to those who are prone to it. He said that it was the duty of seers and members of upper caste to end discrimination towards Dalits and other backward communities.
Muslim organisations reacted sharply to Mr Bhagwat’s strong pitch for building a Ram Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya, calling it a direct challenge to the Supreme Court before which the matter is pending, and demanded action against the RSS chief.
“The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has faith in the judiciary and will try to implement its order... By issuing this statement Mohan Bhagwat has taken law into his hands,” said board spokesperson Maulana Khaild Saifullah Rehmani.
Maulana Yasoob Abbas, spokesman of All India Shia Personal Law Board, said that Mr Bhagwat has given this statement to divert the attention of voters in Gujarat from real issues.
The Udupi event is significant as the first formal announcement for building Ram Temple at Rama Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya was made here in 1985 and a year later, the doors of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya were open to the public for darshan.
The Babri Masjid was built during the reign of Mughal emperor Babur in 1528. However, Hindus claim that a Ram temple stood at the site and it was demolished to construct the mosque.
On 6 December 1992, a large crowd of Hindu Kar Sevaks demolished the Babri Masjid at the disputed site.