New Delhi: With the Supreme Court ‘facilitating’ the construction of a ‘grand’ Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is now hoping to lay the temple’s foundation stone on the ‘Ram Navmi’ next April.
While the Sangh and its affiliate VHP gave a coordinated response on the verdict, asserting that ‘truth and justice’ have prevailed and that the verdict is neither a victory nor a defeat, sources said the completion of the temple could coincide with the next Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh in 2022. For the past one week, the RSS has been appealing for peace and harmony over the Supreme Court verdict pronounced on Saturday.
The VHP, which spearheaded the Sangh’s mandir campaign, has urged the Central government to set up a trust for the construction of the Ram Mandir and had asserted that almost 60 per cent of pillars and beams of the shrine are ready.
Preempting any move to take political mileage or communalise the verdict, the RSS had barred its leaders to react or act in any manner on the verdict. RSS leaders were also holding talks with Muslim religious leaders and influencers to check any move to aggressive response on the verdict.
RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat
It was RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat, who first reacted, followed by VHP working president Alok Kumar. They said the verdict ‘should not be seen as anybody’s victory or defeat’ and the ‘decision is in line with the sentiments of the whole nation.’ Even the BJP, whose top brass had held meeting with the RSS recently, echoed their views.
‘We welcome this decision. This case was going on for decades and it reached the right conclusion. We wanted the issue to end, this has happened. All sides were evaluated and truth and justice have been highlighted,’ Mr Bhagwat said.
Mr Kumar said the verdict is a ‘decisive step towards construction of a grand Ram temple’ and that it was a ‘day of happiness for Hindus the world over.’ He also noted that ‘Hindu has the nature to live in maryada’ therefore ‘the expression of joy cannot be aggressive.’
When asked about the other religious sites at Kashi and Mathura, Mr Kumar said the VHP is ‘currently focussed on construction ‘of the Ram temple and it has no time for other demands.
‘About Kashi and Mathura, I must make it clear that the judgment is not the end of the story, it is the beginning,’ he said.