Prime Minister Narendra Modi should not attend the bhoomi pujan ceremony of the Ram temple at Ayodhya on August 5 in his official capacity, but can do so as an individual, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi said on Tuesday, even as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad called for celebrations on that day.
'Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi should not attend this event as the prime minister of this country. He can definitely attend this function in his individual capacity. The prime minister also has freedom of religion. Every Indian citizen has freedom of religion,' Owaisi told reporters.
The Supreme Court had in a unanimous verdict last year cleared the way for the construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya, and directed the Centre to allot a 5-acre plot to the Sunni Waqf Board to build a mosque.
'But I want to know from the prime minister does the gGovernment of India have a religion? No, because the Constitution clearly says that secularism is part of the basic structure of the Constitution,' Owaisi said.
The government of India has no religion, the government of India celebrates all religions, he said.
He wondered why President Ram Nath Kovind had not been invited to the event.
Modi's attendance at the function would 'open up wounds,' Owaisi stated.
VHP International Joint General Secretary Surendra Kumar Jain, in a Facebook live address, said the 500-year old struggle of Hindu society would soon fructify.
'Lakhs of people sacrificed for the Ram temple construction. The whole country is determined to construct a temple at the Ram Janmabhoomi. Bhoomi pujan will be held on August 5. The prime minister will take part in that bhoomi pujan,' he said.
Jain appealed to the people to face towards Ayodhya at 10.30 am on August 5 and chant Ram's name offering aartis.
Earlier, Owaisi tweeted that Modi's possible attendance to the bhoomi pujan ceremony would mean a violation of his Constitutional oath.
'Attending Bhoomi Pujan in official capacity will be a violation of @PMOIndia's constitutional oath. Secularism is part of the Basic Structure of Constitution,' Owaisi tweeted.
'We can't forget that for over 400 years Babri stood in Ayodhya & it was demolished by a criminal mob in 1992,' the Hyderabad Lok Sabha member further tweeted.
According to the Shri Ram Janambhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust, Modi is likely to visit Ayodhya on August 5 for the bhoomi pujan to begin construction of the Ram temple.
Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Lal Kishenchand Advani and Dr Murli Manohar Joshi and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat are among those who have been invited to the ceremony.