Ayodhya: There’s a fresh controversy brewing in Ayodhya, with a number of saints and mahants angered at being left out of the trust announced by the Narendra Modi government to build the Ram temple in Ayodhya.
The government Wednesday announced that a 15-member trust — named Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra — has been set up for the construction of the Ram temple.
What has generated a lot of disappointment is the appointment of advocate K. Parasaran as the chairman of the trust. It was widely believed that the president of VHP-run Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas, Nritya Gopal Das, would be handed over the responsibility.
Talking to some reporters, Das said the government’s trust has become a medium to insult them. “We have sacrificed our entire lives for the construction of Ram temple, but got no representation in the trust,” he said.
A peeved Das even called a meeting of Ayodhya’s saints at 3 pm Thursday but it was eventually postponed after some local BJP leaders along with the Ayodhya DM and SSP met him.
Sources in the Uttar Pradesh government told ThePrint that Home Minister Amit Shah intervened and, so, Das called off the meeting. Now, his supporters are claiming that he will be inducted into the trust as a member.
The government has so far announced 10 members of the trust — three of them are from Ayodhya. The saint community in Ayodhya is now hoping that at least two members will be nominated to the trust from among them.
‘Trust is an insult to Ayodhya’s saint community’
Mahant Suresh Das, a leading member of Digambar Akhara, who is considered quite close to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, has also been left out of the trust.
Das said it’s an insult to Ayodhya’s saint community that the government didn’t consult any of them before finalising the membership of the trust.
“Every resident of Ayodhya is happy with the upcoming construction of Ram temple, but no consultation of any kind was done with the saints. Our Guru Ramchandra Paramahamsa had sacrificed his entire life for this movement. I too had fought a long legal battle for the temple construction but when the time came for formation of the trust, the Digambara Akhara was completely ignored,” he said.
On Adityanath, Das said whenever the CM comes to Ayodhya, he visits his ashram. He said he holds high respect for Adityanath and will soon meet him to raise the matter with him.
‘Name of VHP’s vice-president under consideration’
Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Ayodhya spokesperson Sharad Sharma said it will be interesting to see who gets representation in the trust from the Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas.
“We hope that two members (in the trust) will be from the VHP. Name of VHP’s vice-president Champat Rai is under consideration. He has been associated with the movement for a long time. Let us see who is finally selected as there are too many claimants,” Sharma added.
Mahant Kamal Nayan Das of Maniram Das Chhavni, a religious place, said the trust was formed without even consulting the saints associated with the Vaishnava sect.
Das also raised objection to the induction of Vimalendra Mohan Mishra, a descendant of Ayodhya’s royal family, to the trust.
According to Das, Mishra has a political background as he had previously contested an election on a BSP ticket.
“He has no connection with the Ram temple movement. When people like him can be accommodated (in the trust) then why no one was selected from the saint community?” he said.
Talking to ThePrint, Rajkumar Das, an office-bearer of Shri Ram Vallabh Kunj, another religious place in Ayodhya, said if the trust was formed after discussing with the prominent saints of Ayodhya, then all this controversy would not have come up.
Government trying to placate saints
The government is now trying to appease the saints.
On Thursday, BJP’s Ayodhya MLA Ved Prakash Gupta along with mayor Rishikesh Upadhyay and city BJP president Abhishek Mishra met some aggrieved saints to pacify them.
However, a source in the state government said the central dispensation is fully aware about the internal politics in the saint community and that is why it took a decision to include people with a clean image as members of the trust.
The government wants to go ahead with the task of temple construction in a fully transparent manner, added the source.
The three members from Ayodhya
One of them is Vimalendra Mohan Mishra of the Ayodhya royal family. He is also a member of the Ramayana Mela Sangrakshak Committee. He has been appointed as the ‘receiver’ of the trust.
Another member is Anil Mishra, a reputed homeopathic practitioner in Ayodhya. He is the registrar of the Homeopathy Medicine Board in the state. He is also RSS’s karvahak for the Awadh region.
The third member is mahant Dinendra Das of Nirmohi Akhara. He has been heading the Ayodhya Baithak of Nirmohi Akhara. For several years, he has been fighting the case of Nirmohi Akhara on the Ram temple issue in courts.