RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat says 'temple must be built at Ram Janmabhoomi, no other structure must come up'
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's contentious statement that 'The day is not far when a saffron flag will fly atop the Ram mandir' sparked controversy. He added that the the Ram temple must be built at the Ram Janmabhoomi site and that 'no other structure must come up there.'
On Friday, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat said "the day is not far when a saffron flag will fly atop the Ram Mandir," News18 reported.
The RSS supremo—who was delivering a keynote address at the Vishva Hindu Parishad's (VHP) 'Dharma Sansad' in Udupi, Karnataka, said a Ram Temple must be built at the site and "no other structure must come up there." "We will construct it. It is not a populist declaration but a matter of our faith. It will not change," he added.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made for the Dharma Sansad. The Udupi event is significant as the first formal announcement for 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.
Bhagwat said that after years of efforts and sacrifice, building the Ram temple seemed possible now, while also noting that the matter
was in the court. This comment comes days after the Uttar Pradesh Shia Central Waqf Board submitted a proposal before the Supreme Court for the settlement of the dispute over the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site, saying a temple can be built in Ayodhya and the mosque could be raised in Lucknow.
The three-day convention is likely to be attended by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Yoga guru Ramdev, reports PTI.
According to News18, more than 2,000 saints, mutt heads and VHP leaders from across the nation are attending the meeting. Besides the construction of the Ram Temple, the prevention of religious conversions, issues of caste and gender discrimination and cow protection are other key issues likely to be discussed at the Dharma Sansad.
The RSS chief said that the temple would be constructed in the "same grandeur" as it existed before, using the "same stones" under the guidance of those who were the flag-bearers of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement for the past 25 years. "We are close to achieving our goal but at this juncture, we should be extra cautious," he said.
Bhagwat also reminded the Sansad about the duty of seers and members of upper castes towards Dalits and other backward communities. "We should rise above the barriers of caste, creed and religion in our speech and action while treating people and embrace everybody wholeheartedly. There should not be any discrimination on the issues of sharing water, religious places and cremation grounds," Bhagwat said.
"The strength of the society lies in its unity. When it is destroyed, anti-national forces gain a foothold. We need to understand the consequences of religious conversion. We need to reach out to those who are prone to conversion," he added at the congregation.
Bhagwat also gave his take on protection of cattle and cow vigilantism. "We have to safeguard our cows. If there is no ban on cow slaughter, we cannot live in peace," Bhagwat said, according to News18. "Society is careless about the status of cows. Those who have concern for the cows stand up to protect the cattle. This leads to conflict in the society resulting in bad name to the 'cow protectors'," he added.
Vishvesha Teertha Swamiji of Pejavar Math of Udupi, who chairs the reception committee, also spoke about the Ram Temple. He said that the Ram Mandir would be built in a year, well before 2019.
The octogenarian seer with a huge following in Karnataka and elsewhere, demanded that the government amend the Constitution to do away with special provisions for minorities in order for equality in the society.
Addressing the meet earlier, VHP leader Pravin Togadia set the tone for the issues to be discussed in the Dharma Sansad in the next three days. He reiterated VHP's affirmation to build the Ram Temple and a ban on cow slaughter. Togadia also demanded that the government should not regulate Hindu temples.
"If the Indian Constitution is secular, why are governments regulating Hindu temples? Are there any instances of government controlling any mosque or church? If not, then why is this discrimination only with Hindu temples. "Let Hindus manage their temples," he said.
The Hindu reported that the Dharma Sansad will pass its resolutions from 10 am to 12.30 pm on 26 November.
It is likely that comments by Bhagwat and VHP leaders could play into these resolutions, The Hindu reported.
The Supreme Court will commence the final hearing in the long-standing Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute from 5 December, a day before the 25th anniversary of the demolition of the medieval-era structure.
With inputs from agencies
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