Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati today declared that the Ayodhya temple foundation will be held on February 21. The massive congregation of sadhus that was called by Shankaracharya has also decided to march towards Ayodhya on February 21 before laying the foundation stone. The 'dharamadesh' issued by the Dwarka Peeth Shankaracharya after the `Dharam Sansad' urged Hindus to reach Ayodhya carrying four bricks each. "We all know that Mandir can't be built in a single day, but one has to start building to complete it," Shankaracharya said. "We will have to build Angkor Wat type Ram Temple in Ayodhya," he added. Speaking after the Param Dharam Sansad at Prayagraj on the sidelines of the ongoing Kumbh, Swami Swaroopanand said they are ready to take bullets if stopped from going ahead with the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. He also demanded that Ayodhya should be given the status of Vatican city.
“They are planning to construct a statue by taking possession of the land around Ram Janmbhoomi and not the 0.3 acres of the disputed land,” Saraswati said. “How did you decide that land should be returned, who are you (govt) to decide. We have to construct grand ram temple in those 66 acres,” he added.
The Shankaracharya criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government for not bringing legislation to enable the construction of the temple, even though it had an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha. It said the government demonstrated this majority when a bill to provide reservation in government jobs and educational institutes for the economically weaker sections was passed in Parliament. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has also planned a two-day Dharam Sansad in Allahabad, beginning Thursday.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the RSS had been seeking a legislative route for the construction of temple at Ayodhya. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an interview earlier this year ruled out any move to bring in an ordinance for the acquisition of the disputed land as the matter was pending before the court.
Earlier, the Centre said that the entire 2.77-acre premises, within which the disputed structure stood before its demolition on December 6, 1992, cannot be termed as disputed. The Centre claimed in its application before the apex court that only 0.313-acre plot, on which the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid structure stood, was the disputed land.
Meanwhile, an advocate, representing a Muslim body in the Ayodhya land dispute matter, dubbed the Centre's move as "political stunt" and questioned the delay of almost 16 years in seeking modification of the apex court's 2003 order. Facing growing pressure to move swiftly on the Ram temple issue, the Modi government Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to allow it to return the "non-disputed" surplus land acquired around the disputed structure in Ayodhya to a Hindu trust and other original owners, in a significant move ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
The move could see some form of construction of a Ram Temple by Hindu groups if the handover is allowed, amid pressure from the RSS and Hindutva groups on the Centre to facilitate this step. The statement made by the Centre, in an application, may have some impact on the hearing of the main title dispute case. The hearing by a five-judge constitution bench, which was to be held Tuesday, was cancelled due to non-availability of one of the judges.
The fresh application by the Centre was filed in another connected matter relating to Ayodhya in which the apex court in 2003 had directed to maintain status quo on the entire acquired 67.7-acre land, which included 2.77-acre land. The advocate, on condition of anonymity, said, "What was the urgency to file such an application. Why do you want that order to be changed."
"It is all a political stunt," he said, adding that there was no need for such an application when the apex court has been on more than one or two occasions and even the Allahabad High Court had favoured maintenance of the status quo on and around the disputed site at Ayodhya. Fourteen appeals have been filed in the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgement, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land be partitioned equally among three parties -- the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.