Lucknow: The VHP on Friday said publicly to organise a large gathering in Ayodhya on December 6, the Babri demolition anniversary, attempting to reconstruct the Ram temple campaign around the ashes of its late president Ashok Singhal.
According to a report published in the Telegraph, Kolkota, around 300 VHP and BJP activists arrived in Ayodhya carrying Singhal’s ashes in an urn to be immersed it in the Saryu.
The ceremony attended by almost 4,000 people, who formally took an oath from VHP secretary-general Champat Rai to build a Ram temple on the disputed site“soon”.
The move was strongly disapproved by Muslim litigants and lawyers.
“Let the dead rest if you want to pay an honest tribute to Singhal. We have seen them doing politics on Ramjanmabhoomi, but the politics of ashes is disgusting and dangerous,” said Hashim Ansari, the oldest surviving plaintiff in the case.
“They are politicising his urn to emotionally exploit Hindus.”
Zafaryab Jilani, additional advocate-general with the UP government and a member of the AIMPLB, alleged the Sangh parivar was looking to polarise the state ahead of the 2017 Assembly polls.
10 days after Singhal’s death, the VHP sent out 51 asthi-kalash yatras (journeys with the ashes of the dead in urns) from his hometown, Allahabad, to be immersed in 50 different rivers across the country.
VHP leaders said they planned “a bigger tribute to Singhal after nine days”, that is, on the 23rd anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid.
“People from across the country will gather at Kar Sewakpuram on December 6 and chalk out the strategy to construct a Ram temple,” said Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, head of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas — a trust formed by the VHP to promote and oversee the construction of the Ram temple.
No more postponement in “realising Singhal’s dream of a splendid Ram temple in Ayodhya”, they said.
On every December 6, local Muslims, mostly traders, organise a yaum-e-ghum (mourning day) and keep their shutters down whereas the VHP and associated organisations observe a shaurya diwas (bravery day).
According to the sources, Ram temple-related activity has been frequenting Ayodhya these days.
Jilani, who has been a counsel for the Babri Masjid Action Committee, a party to the case, sounded a warning.
“The VHP has changed its strategy after losing mass support. Now it tries to organise people by cheating them. The way they are using Singhal’s ashes is an example before us.”
He added: “We want the intelligence and administration to keep a close watch on them. They can create a problem anytime in Ayodhya.”
State police Chief Jagmohan Yadav said: “We are keeping a close watch on the situation.”
With inputs from the Telegraph, Kolkata