New Delhi: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) will launch a public awareness campaign across the country in August to enlighten people about the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya.
The campaign will kick off after 5 August, when the bhoomi puja (foundation stone laying) will take place.
For the campaign, the VHP has set a target of reaching 10 crore families in 5 lakh villages across the country. VHP workers on the campaign will appeal to people to donate Rs 100 voluntarily for the temple construction.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to visit Ayodhya on 5 August for the bhoomi puja, following which, the construction work will begin.
Meanwhile, the design of the temple has been changed after the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust, set up to oversee the construction of the temple, held its meeting last Sunday.
Ashish Sompura, the chief architect of the temple, told ThePrint: “The new design of the temple has been readied.”
However, neither Sompura nor members of the trust or VHP said anything about the construction cost of the temple.
“There is a lot of work to be done, so it is too early to tell the estimated cost. The trust has told us that whatever god will give us, we will utilise that for the temple construction,” he added.
Details of the campaign
Giving the details of the VHP’s public awareness campaign, a source in the organisation told ThePrint, “We will start the public awareness campaign from Uttar Pradesh and will then fan out across the country … We have set a target of reaching 10 crore families in 5 lakh villages in the country.”
“Our workers will also appeal to the families to voluntarily contribute Rs 100. All organisations that are associated with us will also cooperate in this,” the source added.
A second VHP source said that during the campaign, they would urge people to perform bhajan keertan while maintaining social distancing norms.
About the bhoomi puja, VHP senior leader Rajendra Singh Pankaj told ThePrint, “The auspicious occasion of the bhoomi puja is happening after so many years of struggle. This is the result of the hard work of all the people. (But) due to the coronavirus pandemic, only a limited number of people will be able to participate in the ceremony.”
He further said the VHP would urge people to light diyas, perform rituals such as havan, puja and pushpanjali, and blow conch shells on 5 August as part of the bhoomi puja ceremony.
A senior member of the trust said the ceremony will start at 11 am and be over by 1 pm.
“After this, the construction work of the temple will start. Due to monsoon, the construction work will not be able to pick up speed, but work will go on at a slow pace. As soon as the monsoon comes to an end, the temple construction work and the public awareness campaign will pick up speed,” Pankaj said.
Besides the August campaign, the VHP and the temple trust are also planning to organise another one in November. “If the pandemic remains that time too, we will have to make changes. But if the threat subsides, we will run the campaign on a much bigger scale,” said a second member of the trust.
VHP foundation day
Vinod Basnal, the national spokesperson of the VHP, told ThePrint that the organisation will celebrate its foundation day from 9-15 August.
“During this period, we will conduct physical programmes wherever possible while observing social distancing and other norms. Virtual programmes will also be organised,” he added.
“During this, people will be told about the work done by VHP such as cow protection, protection of temples and the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, among others. In addition to the social work done during the pandemic, challenges to Hindu society like ‘love jihad‘, religious conversions, attack on temples and anti-national issues will also be discussed,” Bansal said.
Bansal further said, “The temple trust will decide the programmes related to Ram temple after bhoomi puja. Akhand Bharat Week will also be celebrated from 16-23 August.”
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