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February 11, 2002
2300 IST

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VHP urges Centre to respect Hindu sentiment

A day after announcing that it would start constructing a Ram temple at Ayodhya from March 15, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad on Monday asked the Centre and political parties to respect Hindu sentiments.

The construction of the temple would commence on March 15 at any cost, and "we are not prepared to postpone the date even if we are to be hanged", VHP international general secretary Pravin Togadia said in Bhubaneswar.

Togadia said the VHP had given 15 months time to the government and all political parties to decide whether "they are with Lord Ram or with the legacy of Babar's terrorism. The jihadi mindset has to be defeated at all costs".

Togadia said many problems, including the Kashmir issue, would be solved and Hindus could return to the valley if the Ram temple was constructed. "Solution to Kashmir problem lies through Ayodhya," he said.

The VHP leader said if the war in Afghanistan was the answer to the September 11 attacks in the United States, then construction of the Ram temple was "the fitting reply to the legacy of terrorism being carried on in the name of jihad."

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