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‘Stand down, move on’ — Message to affiliates after RSS chief’s call to end temple-mosque rows

VHP, a constituent of Sangh Parivar, is among the organisations that have been compiling data and historic evidence to establish the demolition of Hindu temples by invaders.

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New Delhi: Affiliates of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) that are contesting cases or spearheading campaigns to “reclaim and rebuild” temples razed by Muslim invaders centuries ago have been asked to “stand down”, ThePrint has learnt.

The message, sources in the Sangh said, was sent a day after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said in an address that there was no need to spearhead a temple movement or see a ‘Shivling’ in every mosque. The Hindus and Muslims of present-day India, Bhagwat said in Nagpur, were not responsible for the ancient conflicts.

There are at least six important cases related to the issues of temples razed or Hindu religious structures demolished in the past. All these cases are pending in court. These cases include those concerning Varanasi’s Gyanvapi mosque and Mathura’s Shahi Idgah Mosque, a senior RSS functionary said.

Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), a constituent of the Sangh Parivar, is among the organisations that have been compiling data and historic evidence to establish the demolition of Hindu temples by invaders.

RSS insiders said the Sangh Parivar was working on details of “many locations” where Hindu structures were converted to mosques or idgahs.

The RSS has refrained from giving public statements on the issue, barring one occasion when Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh Sunil Ambekar, while referring to the Gyanvapi “revelations”, claimed that the truth should come out.

With Bhagwat’s speech, the aforementioned functionary added, a clear message has been sent out to all RSS affiliates.

“We have to protect harmony among the Hindus and the Muslims. We were waiting for sarsanghchalak ji‘s direction. Now that he has spoken, we will follow his words. He has clearly discouraged any fresh agitation over the issue. But Muslims have to understand our emotions and religious sentiments as well,” he added.

VHP working president Alok Kumar refused to comment on Bhagwat’s statement. “The cases are pending in the court. The VHP is not a litigant anywhere,” he said to a query on continuing the agitation.

As for the Gyanvapi legal tussle, Bhagwat said, the matter should not be seen as a conflict between Hindus and Muslims.

“There is a history and one cannot deny that. It should not be seen as a matter against Muslims, as they did not write the history, nor did the Hindus. Islam reached India through invaders. Thousands of temples were razed and destroyed by them (invaders) to break the spine and confidence of the Hindus. Some of these temples were extremely important to Hindus. Gyanvapi is one of them.”

He said “the ancestors of the Muslims here were also Hindus”.

“We did not say anything. The answer came on 9 November in 2019 (the Ayodhya verdict). In my opinion, Hindus and Muslims should have sat together and resolved the issue. But in some cases, dialogues do not work and the issue reaches court,” he added. “We, both Hindus and Muslims, should respect the judicial decision and accept them. We should not question the verdict.”

Also read: BJP ‘monitoring situation’ to plan Gyanvapi strategy as voices grow against Places of Worship Act

No fresh ‘andolon’? 

Following Bhagwat’s message, the RSS brass has instructed its cadres and affiliates to stand down and not initiate any fresh agitation.

“The Sangh was getting a lot of inputs from the (BJP) governments that the temple agitations can lead to law-and-order challenges and encourage the fundamentalists to instigate our brothers (Muslims) to promote disharmony or incite violence,” a second senior RSS functionary said.

“We do not want that. We will follow what he said. Our organisations are disciplined enough to follow the path charted for them by sarsanghchalak ji,” the functionary added.

The Sangh functionary, however, added that the ‘’organisations would sit together and formulate policies to get justice for Hindus”.

At the Sangh event in Nagpur Thursday, Bhagwat had said his organisation achieved through the Ram Janmabhoomi Andolan “what the people wanted”.

“We don’t want to call for any more agitations, but these are matters that are unresolved and play in the people’s minds. However… jhagda kyun badhana hai (why should we escalate the conflict)?” he said.

Bhagwat also called for an end to the controversies triggered after Hindutva groups moved courts seeking judicial interventions to search or dig premises of mosques and idgahs. “There is no need to see a Shivling in every mosque. They (the Muslims) have a different way of worship but they belong here. Their ancestors were Hindus. We have no opposition to anybody else’s way of worship,” he said.

The Sangh chief had also appealed to both the Hindus and the Muslims not to fall prey to “foreign conspiracies” by fighting each other.

(Edited by Tony Rai)

Also read: What RSS chief Bhagwat really meant when he said ‘Akhand Bharat’ could be reality in 10-15 yrs

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