‘A birthplace is a birthplace and it cannot be negotiated. There cannot be any division or transfer of the birthplace. Then what is left to be talked about?’
New Delhi: The Supreme Court’s order to set up a three-member panel comprising retired SC judge F.M.I. Kalifullah, Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and arbitration specialist Sriram Panchu for mediation in the sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi title case has failed to enthuse the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), which has been spearheading the movement for construction of a Ram temple at Ayodhya.
In an interview to The Sunday Guardian, VHP national spokesperson Vinod Bansal pointed out how mediation efforts have been made in the past too but failed to yield any result, and asserted that his outfit will continue its agitation for building a grand Ram temple at Ayodhya as early as possible. Excerpts:
Q: Do you think mediation will help resolve the vexed issue? Are you optimistic about this (mediation) route?
A: There have been several mediation efforts in the past—ever since the tenure of former Prime Ministers Rajiv Gandhi, V.P. Singh and Chandrashekhar. But everybody knows the outcome. Sometimes the opposite party did not provide the required documents and they count not counter the documents submitted by us and at times they did not turn up for the meeting. On many occasions, when asked, they said they had not gone through the translated documents despite the fact that these were provided two years ago in 2017. Their only intention has been to delay, derail and hamper the court proceedings. They have always wasted the time of the court on one pretext or the other and tried to derail the process of hearing by raising irrelevant questions, for example, on the issue of having a particular judge in the Bench or threatening the court of boycotting the court if their wishes were not fulfilled. There were attempts to scare the judges in the name of impeachment. We have absolutely no hope from the mediation route ordered by the Supreme Court.
Q: Are you satisfied with the people included in the panel or would you demand including more eminent people?
A: When we are not satisfied with the very idea of mediation, where is the question of including more people into the panel? Talks should be held for what? When all the facts related to the issue are on record and clear, when Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) report is clear, when the verdict of the Allahabad High Court is clear that there existed a temple of Lord Ram at the site, then on which point there will be negotiations? The Allahabad High Court judgment has clearly said that a Ram temple is there and will remain at the place where Ramlala Virajman is presently worshipped. If a temple cannot exist in Mecca-Madina, or Vatican, then how could a mosque exist at the birthplace of Bhagwan Ram at Ayodhya? Please try to understand that this is not a case of a piece of land but an issue of self-respect of the nation. Everything can be changed in this world but not the janmabhoomi (birthplace). There cannot be any division or transfer of the birthplace. For VHP and entire Hindu society, every inch of land at the Janmabhoomi site is worth worshipping and invaluable. In such a situation, on which issue there will be talks? We have nothing to give or take. A birthplace is a birthplace which can never be divided, transferred or negotiated. As regards to people in the panel, politics has already started on their names. Asaduddin Owaisi has raised questions about Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s inclusion in the panel. It shows their mentality and the kind of respect for the judiciary and their representatives as it has already been seen many times in the past.
Q: There have been reports of division in the Sant Samaj over the course of agitation, which became evident during the Kumbh Mela at Prayagraj. Are they divided on the issue?
A: Not at all. There is no division among the sadhus and sants. All of them are unanimous on one thing: that a grand Ram temple should be built at the same site at the earliest.
Q: Why did the VHP give a four months’ halt to the agitation?
A: We have not halted our agitation. The sants have just deferred the announcement of our next phase of agitation. There was a consensus within the Sant Samaj that since the general elections, which is a Maha Yagna of democracy, are scheduled, it should be conducted in a peaceful manner and that no political party should use the issue for electoral gains. There should not be any effort to politicise it. At the same time, we should not be blamed for supporting any particular party over this issue. Therefore, it was decided not to announce the next phase of the agitation. As regards the public awareness programme, we are already into it. On 6 April, 13 crore Vijay Mahamantra will be chanted at different places, temples, houses and other religious sites across the country to regain the spiritual power for the construction of a glorious, grand Ram temple at Ayodhya.
Q: What will be VHP’s future course of action following the SC order to go for the mediation route?
A: We are studying the court order. We are in touch with legal experts and holding discussion among ourselves. We will let you know about our future course of action once this exercise is over.