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VHP seeks entire 67 acres of Ayodhya plot

By Sharat Pradhan
October 20, 2010 19:00 IST
Flatly rejecting the September 30 order of the three-judge special bench of Allahabad High Court, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad on Wednesday demanded not only the disputed Ram Janmbhoomi–Babri Masjid plot of land, but the entire 67 acres of surrounding the structure acquired by the Union government, be handed over to them.

"We are not ready to part with any bit of land in or around the disputed Ayodhya site, where we wish to erect a grand temple to mark the birthplace of Lord Ram", VHP supremo Ashok Singhal told a press conference in Lucknow on Wednesday afternoon.

Singhal also ruled out allowing construction of a mosque in any corner of the entire acquired land, "If Muslims wish to build a mosque, let them do it outside the limits of the acquired land."

He was speaking after chairing a day-long meeting of the VHP's central committee of seers, who debated the high court verdict.

Claiming that 45 acres of the acquired land actually belonged to the Ram Janmbhoomi Nyas (Trust), Singhal said, "I see no reason why the central government cannot make a smooth transfer of the 45 acres of acquired land back to its original owner, the Ram Janmbhoomi Nyas."He said, the remaining acquired land too could be formally given to the Nyas for construction of the proposed Ram temple." 

Singhal proposes to lead a delegation of Hindu seers to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with a formal request in this regard. "I will take a delegation to the prime minister and urge him to hand over the entire 70 acres acquired by the central government way back in the nineties after the removal of the disputed structure (read mosque).

The VHP is not a direct party to the court case, but chose to throw all its weight behind the Ram Lalla Virajmaan, to whom the HC had given one-third of the disputed property. "We will urge the Ram Lalla Virajmaan to file an appeal against the  HC order, that has given away one-third of the property to the Muslims," he asserted.

Singhal sought to point out, "there was no dispute about the fact that entire Ayodhya was owned by Raja Dashrath, the father of Ram and the birthplace of Ram was a part of the king's palace, so there was no question of parting with any piece of land in that area.

He sees no possibility of an out of court settlement on the issue unless the Muslims completely give up their claim to any portion of the land. However, when a scribe drew his attention to the dispute that the VHP had with the Nirmohi Akhara , the rival Hindu group which had been entrusted with one-third of the disputed property, Singhal said, "now that the HC has given the main part of the disputed land to Lord Ram's diety, it is by implication that the the entire land would belong to him."

However, Jagadguru Madhavacharya, the head of the Udupi Peeth in Karnataka, who was also accompanying Singhal intervened to add, "We will try and make the Nirmohi Akhara understand that we were both fighting for a common cause and our ultimate goal was to see a grand Ram temple come up at Ayodhya"

It was a virtual echo of what the All India Muslim Personal Law Board spokesman had observed, when Singhal was asked about the possibility of any compromise formula being worked out on the issue, "We are not against a compromise, but as far as we are concerned, we do not have any such formula to offer on our own. We are open to considering any such formula if it were to be proposed by the other party, provided it were to up uphold the dignity of Lord Ram as also the sentiments of millions of Hindus living across the globe."
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow