Devotees look at stone slabs earmarked for the construction of a Hindu God Ram temple at Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas workshop in Ayodhya, after the Supreme Court verdict on the disputed religious site.
Devotees look at stone slabs earmarked for the construction of a Hindu God Ram temple at Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas workshop in Ayodhya, after the Supreme Court verdict on the disputed religious site.
AFP

The erection of a Ram temple in Ayodhya moved a step closer with the Prime Minister announcing in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday the constitution of an autonomous trust. The 15-member Shri Ram Janambhoomi Teerth Kshetra, to be headquartered in Delhi, will oversee the construction of the temple. Aware of the long and hard struggle that had preceded the recent Supreme Court order allowing the construction of the temple at the disputed site, Modi became emotional. “…it is a very important and historical subject…this topic is close to my heart like millions of countrymen and I consider it my great fortune to talk about it…” A plot of land measuring 67.703 acres, including the disputed piece of land claimed by the Muslims is to be transferred to the trust for the construction of the Ram temple and allied buildings. K Parasaran, a former Attorney General during the Congress government who was the lead lawyer for the Hindus in the Ram Janambhoomi case, is one of the trustees. Aside from religious leaders, including Jagatguru Shankracharya Jyoithishpeethadheeshwar Swamy Vasudevanand Saraswati Ji Maharaj, Jagatguru Madhavacharya Swami Vishwa Prasannaththeerth Ji Maharaja, Pejawar Math, Udupi, Haridwar-based Yugpurush Paramanand Ji Maharaj, and Swami Govinddev Giri Ji Maharaj, Pune, are some of the other trustees. Two Ayodhya residents and Kameshwar Chaupal, a Dalit who did the first shila puja in 1989, are some of the other  trustees. Of the 15 trustees, 11 will have voting rights. Two non-voting trustees each will be devout Hindu civil servants to be nominated by the central and State government respectively. The Prime Minister saluted the people of all faiths for accepting the apex court judgment of November 9 who had showed great restraint and maturity. With the on-going anti-CAA protests in mind, Modi said that Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis or Jains were members of the large Indian family. “… All members of this family develop, they live in happiness, they are healthy, the country prospers - with this sentiment my government is going ahead with the mantra of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas..” This was the closest the PM came to making a conciliatory gesture towards the Muslims who are now agitating against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. Meanwhile, as directed by the apex court a five-acre plot was earmarked for the proposed mosque and will soon be handed over by the UP Government to the bodies representing the Muslim cause. At least one Muslim organization has protested that the proposed plot of land is outside Ayodhya town. But the demand for a plot in close vicinity of the proposed Ram temple is unlikely to be met by the state government. Hopefully, the centuries-old dispute with a direct bearing on Hindu-Muslims relations will soon stand resolved. By all accounts, the construction of a grand Ram temple is set to make Ayodhya a popular centre of pilgrimage for Hindus the world-over.

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