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RSS’ next target: Bringing seers on the same page

RSS and its affiliate organisations are trying to bring akhara heads, seers and activists associated with the Ram mandir movement on the same page, to enable government to form a body of ‘like-minded people who are wellversed in the history of Ayodhya’.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Nov 11, 2019, 06.47 AM IST
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The followers of RSS celebrated the verdict of Ayodhya RamjanmaBhoomi case
NEW DELHI: RSS and its affiliate organisations, particularly the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, are trying to bring akhara heads, seers and activists associated with the Ram mandir movement on the same page. The purpose is to enable government to form a body of ‘like-minded people who are well-versed in the history of Ayodhya’.

The SC in a verdict on Saturday said a trust should be set up by the Centre within three months to help build the mandir.

“We will definitely give suggestions to the government on who all should be part of the trust. But the government will take a final call,” a senior VHP member said.

The organisation will first reach out to the members of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, a trust formed by VHP in January 1993 soon after the demolition of the Babri masjid in December 1992, and then it will approach seers who have been part of VHP’s Dharam Sansad.

Meanwhile, the Nirmohi Akhara has urged the centre to clarify the "appropriate representation" that the SC has mandated in the new trust for the Akhara.

The Nirmohi Akhara in 1959 had made a claim to the inner courtyard of the site. They held possession of the outer courtyard which included the Ram Chabutra, Sita Rasoi and Bhandara upto 1982, as the Shebiat who basically is a person authorised to conduct rites and rituals associated with the deity. The akhara's shebiat Rights have been dismissed by the SC.

"A ‘Shebiat’ is a person manages the affairs of the deity, and does all his work in the human world. It was surprising that the court dismissed our claim due to a technicality but the judges did mention that the outer courtyard, including the Ram chabutra and Sita rasoi have been with the Hindus which is basically us," Karttik Chopra, spokesperson of the Nirmohi Akhada told ET, adding that the puja at the temple has been done forever according to the Ramanandi Bairagi Parampara that should be maintained in the future too.

"The Nirmohi Akhara had waged physical battles for the temple with aggressors, and has a recorded history that goes back to supporting Rani Lakshmibai and Banda Bahadur, and even more. We have fought legal battles for the temple since 1866. The Akhara and its Panchas, particularly our 95-year-old Sarpanch Rajaramchandra Acharya want clarity on how we will be represented in the new trust. It is only fair that we are given adequate representation as our association with the deity goes back more than anyone else here.”

Narendra Giri, head of the Akhara Parishad that is the apex body of 13 main akharas, has already demanded that members of the Parishad, RSS and VHP be made part of the proposed trust.

According to official sources, the government is studying various models, including those of Jagannath Puri, Somnath, Amarnath and Vaishnodevi, for the proposed trust. Home or culture and tourism ministry could be picked as a nodal agency for the trust. Representation of Muslims and government officials in the trust and its nature and size will be decided in due course, an official said.

"It is important that the trust that comes up has members who are sensitive to this issue, and will stay away from internal conflicts," the official said, adding that the government was particular about making this strictly a non controversial affair.

Sangh members say it won't be easy for them to get everyone on the same page, as everyone associated with the movement would want to be part of the trust. "All the stakeholders, particularly the seers, need to convinced that the trust is just a body of representatives, while main task is to construct the temple, that everyone will be a part of."

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