Pitching for building a Ram temple in Ayodhya at the earliest, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on Wednesday said the government should enact a law to acquire the land for the construction, just like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had rebuilt the Somnath temple in Gujarat.
The RSS also urged the Centre to fulfil the "promise" made in 1994 by the then Congress government in the Supreme Court, saying it had agreed at that time to side with the Hindu community if an evidence was found of a pre-existing temple, before it was razed to build the Babri Masjid.
Talking to reporters, RSS sah sarkaryavah (joint general secretary) Manmohan Vaidya said the issue of building a Ram temple at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh was not just limited to the Hindu and Muslim communities.
He was addressing the media after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat inaugurated the Akhil Bharatiya Karyakari Mandal Baithak of the organisation at Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini in Bhayander.
"The Ram temple is a matter of self-respect and pride. Like Sardar Patel had rebuilt the Somnath temple...the government should acquire the land for the construction of the Ram Temple and hand it over for its construction. The government should enact a law for this," Vaidya said, replying to a question.
His comments came two days after the Supreme Court delayed the hearings in the Ayodhya land dispute case by setting the first week of January for the hearing dates to be decided.
The Supreme Court Monday said an appropriate bench would start hearing the matters related to the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute from January next year, triggering demands within the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the RSS for a law for an early construction of the temple on the disputed site.
The Congress has said all parties should abide by the court verdict.
"The court has said a mosque is not mandatory for namaz and the prayers can be performed on the streets as well. Besides, namaz is not accepted if it is performed on a forcibly acquired land. The court has also said that this (acquiring of land) was not a religious deed," Vaidya said.
He claimed that in 1994, during the Congress rule, the solicitor general had submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court, stating that the government would side with the sentiments of the Hindu community if an evidence was found of a razed temple, where the mosque was built.
"Now, we have the evidence...Also, this issue has long been pending in the court without a decision. The issue is now only that of acquiring the land and handing it over for the construction of the temple," Vaidya said.
The RSS leader said the issue was no more limited to Hindus and Muslims or a temple or a mosque, but about the restoration of the pride of the country.
"The government should now fulfil the promise made in 1994," he added.
The Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute is a centuries-old point of a tussle between Hindus and Muslims.
The mosque was demolished by Hindu karsevaks on December 6, 1992 in Ayodhya, following which the country witnessed massive riots in which over 2,000 people were killed.
On the unveiling of Sardar Patel's statue -- the tallest in the world -- by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Gujarat earlier in the day, Vaidya took a dig at the Congress, saying politics should not be played over it.
The country was proud of Patel's achievements, he said, adding, "The Congress has the habit of criticising everything, but they cannot prove anything. This is an issue of national pride. Sardar Patel had played a big role in uniting the country after Independence and therefore, he was known as the Iron Man."
Patel's statue would inspire the youth, Vaidya said.