Post Modi government's much-awaited trust announcement, Ram Temple gets into another round of tussle

Hours after the Modi government’s announcement of the much-awaited Trust for construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya on Wednesday, Hindu groups celebrated across Uttar Pradesh while temples in Ayodhya were lit with earthen lamps and lights.

However, underneath there was resentment among a section of seers, saints and Hindutva groups.

Heads of several religious places and Shankaracharyas, who had lobbied hard in the last three months to push their names in the trust, were disappointed.

Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, the head of the Ram Janmbhumi Nyas and the most respected seer in Ayodhya who had led the Temple movement for decades but his name is missing from the Trust, said, “The people who fought for the temple their entire lives have been insulted through the formation of this trust.

”He has confined himself in a room since Thursday morning. “He had not spoken to anyone since morning. We are worried a lot,” says Yash Prakash Singh, a local and follower of Mahant.Some seers have criticised the government for inclusion of “controversial” people in the trust.

Swami Avimukteshwaranad of Vidya Math, Varanasi held a press conference on Thursday in Varanasi to condemn the government’s decision to include controversial Shankaracharya Badrinath Jyotishpeeth Swami Vasudevanand Saraswati (Prayagraj) in the Trust. “Court had disqualified him from the Shankaracharya post. Forget Shankaracharya, he is not even a qualified seer. The government has insulted the High Court and Sanatan Hindu Dharma by appointing him as a trustee of Ram Temple,” Swami Avimukteshwaranad of Vidya Math.

Swami Avimukteshwaranad also questioned RSS leader Dr Anil Mishra’s nomination in the trust. “Instead of seers and saints, the RSS people have been appointed in the trust. This shows how the Sangh is occupying the Hindu religious place. Those who had demolished the mosque illegally are now on the Temple board.”He said that the Trust is “an insult” to all those people who fought the case in the courts and also to the saints of Ayodhya who led the movement.

Swami said that he would take the Modi government to the court to challenge its “arbitrary decision” to include “dubious” people in the trust.Kamal Nayan, another prominent seer in Ayodhya, has questioned the appointment of Ayodhya Raja Bimalendra Mishra citing that he is a political person with no contribution in the Temple movement. Mishra had unsuccessfully contested Lok Sabha Elections on BSP ticket a decade ago.

The government has so far announced names of nine trustees in the 15-member trust. All of them have been associated with the Ram Temple movement in some or other way in the last three decades.

The first eight trustees in the order are- Advocate K Parasaran who fought the Ayodhya case from Hindu side, Shankaracharya Badrinath Jyotishpeeth Swami Vasudevanand Saraswati (Prayagraj) whose Shankaracharya post has been challenged in the court, Madhavcharya of Pejawar math Udupi, Parmanand Maharaj of Haridwar, Vimalendra Mishra, Swami Govinddeo Giri from Pune, Dr Anil Mishra homeopathic doctor and RSS Sarkaryavah of Awadh Prant and Kameshwar Chaupal of Patna (SC member) and Mahant Dinendra Das of Nirmohi Akhada (no voting rights).

The district collector of Ayodhya would be an ex-officio trustee. If the collector is not Hindu, Hindu additional collector would join the board.Of the remaining five, two members will be nominated by the board of the trustees and one by the Centre and one by the state government and the Chairman would be selected by the board of the trustees.

Even Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Ram Janmbhumi Nyas and Bajrang Dal, three prominent organizations who sweat out to build the temple movement mobilising people, money and resources from across India in the eighties and nineties, didn’t find a place in the Trust.

“There is no member from the Ramjanmbhumi Nyas in the trust which is highly disappointing. We still hope that the Nyas chief Mahant Nritya Gopal Das would be appointed as chairman of the trust,” says a VHP leader said.Disgruntled leaders are still hopeful as four trustees are yet to be appointed. More lobbying is expected in the coming days.

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