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VHP tones down rhetoric
February 22, 2003 23:59 IST
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad toned down its aggressive stand on the Ayodhya issue on the opening day of the dharam sansad in New Delhi on Saturday.
Following months of declarations of a 'now or never' plan and speculation that a date for beginning the construction of temple would be announced, Hindu religious leaders at the two-day meeting merely called for countrywide sit-ins on February 27, the first anniversary of the Godhra train massacre.
A resolution was adopted to mobilise support for a Ram temple from March 5 to 24, and give a call for 'Dilli Chalo'. On March 25, a chosen group will arrive in the capital to pressure 'Parliament and the government' on the issue.
The Sangh Parivar outfit had earlier asked the Centre to hand over the undisputed land in Ayodhya to the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas by February 21.
Cabinet ministers, including Murli Manohar Joshi, and top leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh had politely asked the VHP to back off, sources said adding that is why the resolution was so mild.
However, there was no shortage of rhetoric, with VHP leaders attacking the government for 'appeasing Muslims'.
Asked why no date for beginning construction of temple was announced, VHP senior vice-president Giriraj Kishore asked, "How can we build without getting the land?"
It was also decided to recruit 2000 Ramsevaks at the block-level and a team of 50 religious leaders, who would tour every state and organise meetings in support of temple construction.
The sadhus wanted the country to be renamed 'Hindustan' and declared a 'Hindu rashtra'. They also wanted a ban on slaughter of cows and protection of the Ganga river.
"The temple construction is the main goal, but the fight will go beyond that," said VHP general secretary Pravin Togadia, adding the outfit and saints 'cannot wait for the court decision'.
"We can get the land through parliamentary enactment for which we will create pressure."
Togadia, VHP working president Ashok Singhal, Mahant Avaidhyanath, Acharya Dharamendra, Mahant Parmanand and several others charged the Centre with cheating and committing 'deceit' with the saints.
"Had there been no deceit, Godhra would not have taken place," said Acharya Dharmendra.
"We have given them Hindu agenda, but now nobody is listening to us," Singhal said referring to the BJP. "It is time to make them listen."
More reports from Uttar Pradesh
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