File image of the VHP's model of the proposed Ram temple in Ayodhya | Photo: Ananya Bhardwaj | ThePrint
File image of the VHP's model of the proposed Ram temple in Ayodhya | Photo: Ananya Bhardwaj | ThePrint
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New Delhi: The Nirmohi Akhara, one of the oldest litigants in the Ayodhya case and a claimant to the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site, says it doesn’t believe Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s declaration that a grand Ram temple will be built within four months.

Mahant Rajaramchandra Acharya, the sarpanch (head) of the Akhara, told ThePrint that nothing has moved though more than a month has passed since the Supreme Court ordered that a trust be formed to take over the site. The central government has to form the trust before 9 February 2020, three months from the date of the judgment, and give representation to the Akhara in the trust.

“The government has not consulted us on the constitution of a trust, as mandated by the Supreme Court. We are waiting for the government to initiate the process,” Acharya said, adding the Akhara needs to be consulted before finalising the design of the temple as per centuries-old ‘Ramanandi’ practices, named after the founder of the Akhara.

Acharya also asked the central government to clarify what the role of the trust will be — only to supervise the construction of the temple or “make Ayodhya the Ram Janmabhoomi in the truest sense”?

“We have fought for a hundred years not just for the construction of a temple. There are so many temples in India; this should not be another tourist spot. We fought for a larger idea of Lord Ram — the ideas of rashtra raksha (protecting the country), rashtra shiksha (educating the country), rashtra nirman (development) and rashtra dharm (religion/duty). Will the trust work for all this?” Acharya asked.

Also read: Nirmohi Akhara files Ayodhya review plea, wants clarity on role in Ram temple construction

What the VHP camp is saying

Meanwhile, the Vishva Hindu Parishad-backed Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, which has been making preparations for a grand temple at Ayodhya’s Karsevakpuram since 1991, says it will take at least three years to complete the construction of the Ram temple according to its design. Any change of design will lead to a delay, it said.

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VHP’s international president Alok Kumar told ThePrint that if the government forms the trust by this month, it is possible to start work in three months, provided the design is finalised.

The VHP wants Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, head of the Nyas, to be part of the trust, and the Nyas has written to the home ministry to this effect. The government, however, is yet to initiate any consultations on this.

Also read: Modi govt begins consultations to form Ram Temple Trust, politicians to be kept out of it


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