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    Ram temple bhumi pujan: Kin of kar sewaks killed in Police firing, Iqbal Ansari among guests

    Synopsis

    Given the limit on the number of guests allowed due to Covid-19 protocol, families of six among the deceased kar sewaks have been invited for the ceremony, said Champat Rai, general secretary, Ram Temple Trust.

    PTI
    NEW DELHI: The list of 175 invitees for the bhumi pujan (ground-breaking ceremony) for the proposed Ram temple on August 5 includes the families of some of the kar sewaks (religious volunteers) who died in police firing in Ayodhya in 1990, the Muslim litigant in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit Iqbal Ansari and Faizabad-based social worker and Padma Shri awardee Mohd Sharif.

    Given the limit on the number of guests allowed due to Covid-19 protocol, families of six among the deceased kar sewaks have been invited for the ceremony, said Champat Rai, general secretary, Ram Temple Trust. These include Kolkata-based Poornima Kothari, who is the sister of the deceased brothers Ram and Sharad Kothari, he said. At least 16 kar sewaks were killed in police firing on two separate days in 1990 in Ayodhya after the then chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav ordered the opening of fire.

    “It is a proud day for me to be invited for the Ram temple ceremony. My brothers died for this cause,” Kothari told ET on phone, saying she would reach Ayodhya by Tuesday evening. RSS leaders had earlier visited Kothari’s residence and the BJP even planned a memorial in Kolkata for the deceased Kothari brothers.

    Rai said the family of the deceased Ramesh Pandey and Vasudev Gupta from Ayodhya have also been invited, along with two other families.

    Iqbal Ansari is the son of the late Hashim Ansari, the original litigant in the case, and he took over the litigation after the death of his father. He accepted the Supreme Court verdict, in contrast to the stand of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, which challenged it in a review petition. Ansari said on Monday that he wished to give a copy of the Ramcharitmanas to PM Modi during the August 5 function and would attend the event.

    The priest of the Janaki (Sita) temple in Janakpur, Nepal, has also been invited for the function given the temple’s ties with Ayodhya.

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