The foundation laying ceremony of the proposed Ram Temple in Ayodhya which is slated for August 5 is creating enough hype and hoopla in the country at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is at its peak.
A day after a member of the Ram Janmabhoomi Tirth Kshetra Trust made a sensational statement that a “time capsule” related to the history of the temple movement would be kept in the foundation of the temple, another member has said it was fake news.
Champat Rai, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader and The General Secretary of the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, on Tuesday released a video statement from the official twitter handle of the Temple Trust saying, “All reports about placing of a time capsule under the ground at the Ram Temple construction site on 5th August are false. Do not believe in any such rumour.”
Trust member Kameshwar Chaupal had told the media on Monday, “It has been decided at a meeting that the time capsule would carry a message about Ayodhya, Lord Ram and his birthplace and it will be preserved so as to last for thousands of years.”
“The idea behind this move is to ensure that future generations are not caught up in legal disputes over Lord Ram’s birthplace,” he had explained.
He remained unavailable for media Tuesday.
This gaffe has shocked the Temple supporters, Hindutva outfits and even polity. After all, Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself would lay the foundation with a silver slab.
“This goof-up is shocking. Such a senior trustee telling fake news to the media is something unbelievable. There must be something more than meets the eye,” a senior government official says.
This controversy shows lack of coordination and trust deficit among the trust members. This should have been avoided, say observers.
A VHP member says, “This is giving an impression that everyone wants media attention and hence giving statements here and there.”
Another BJP member said, “Ideally, the chairperson of the Trust Nritya Gopal Das (82, who stays in Ayodhya) should be talking to the media or issue an official statement whenever needed. He is a humble man and rarely speaks to the media. Other members take benefit of this.”
Anshu Awasthi, Congress leader says, “Mr Chaupal’s statement can’t be wrong. The issue would have been discussed in the Trust. Mr Rai’s statement seems to have come up as a second thought. Who is influencing the Trust’s decision? And why do we need to put a Time Capsule in the foundation in the first place when the SC has already addressed the dispute?
Awasthi alleges, “The trust is set-up as per the supreme court order. Yet, BJP and other affiliated groups are meddling with the Trust for petty politics. We urge them that at least they should not make fun of believers of Lord Ram.”
Senior BJP leader Amarjeet Mishra insists, “Champat Rai holds an important post. Hence, we must believe him. The trust would sort out this issue in the board meeting.”
Mishra, however, admits that it is not easy to control trustees through official orders. “All members are very senior leaders associated with the temple movement or seers heading different Mutts. It is not possible to control them,” he says.
Mishra and VHP leader Sharad Sharma both say that it's high time the trust authorised a person to speak with the media in future to avoid embarrassing situations like this.