Rejecting the Ayodhya verdict of the Allahabad High Court, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Wednesday demanded not only the disputed 90 ft x 120 ft plot where the Babri Masjid once stood, but also the over 67 acres of land nearby acquired by the central government.
‘We are not ready to part with any bit of land in or around the disputed Ayodhya land, where we wish to erect a grand temple to mark the birthplace of Lord Ram,’ VHP supremo Ashok Singhal said at a press conference here Wednesday afternoon.
He also ruled out the possibility of 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,’ Singhal said.
He was speaking after a day-long meeting of the VHP’s central committee of seers, who debated the court verdict.
A three-judge special bench of the high court had ordered division of the disputed 90 ft x 120 ft plot of land where the Babri Masjid once stood into three equal parts – one to Ram Lalla, one to Hindu sect Nirmohi Akhara and one to the Sunni Central Waqf Board.
Claiming that 45 acres of the acquired land actually belonged to the Ramjanmabhoomi 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, that was the Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas.’
He said the remaining acquired land too could be formally given to the Nyas for construction of the proposed Ram temple.
Singhal proposed to lead a delegation of Hindu seers to 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 1990s (after the demolition of the mosque),’ he said.
The VHP was not a direct party to the court case, but chose to throw its weight behind the deity Ram Lalla, a party to the Ayodhya title suit, to whom the court gave one-third of the disputed land.
‘We will urge the deity of Ram (represented by a friend) to file an appeal against the high court order, that had given away one-third of the property to Muslims,’ he said.
‘There was no dispute about the fact that entire Ayodhya was owned by (mythological king) Raja Dashrath, the father of Ram, and the birthplace of Ram was a part of the raja’s palace, so there was no question of parting with any piece of land in that area,’ Singhal said.
He said there seemed no possibility of any out-of-court settlement on the issue unless Muslims completely give up their claim to any portion of the land.
When his attention was drawn to the dispute that the VHP was running even with the Nirmohi Akhara, a rival Hindu party in the case which has been entrusted with one-third of the disputed property, Singhal said: ‘Now that the high court has given the main part of the disputed land to Lord Ram’s deity, it is by implication that the entire land would belong to him.’
However, Jagadguru Madhavacharya, the head of the Udupi peeth in Karnataka, who was also accompanying Singhal, said: ‘We will try and make the Nirmohi Akhara understand that after all we were both fighting for a common cause and our ultimate goal was to see a grand Ram temple come up at the birthplace of the lord.’
Asked about the possibility of a compromise formula, Singhal said: ‘We are not against compromise, but as far as we are concerned we do not have any such formula to offer on our own.’
‘However, we are open to considering any such formula if it were to be proposed by the other party, provided it were to uphold the dignity of Lord Ram as also the sentiments of millions of Hindus,’ said the VHP chief.