Six days before the groundbreaking ceremony of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athavale, on Thursday, demanded land for the construction of Buddhist temple there. The Dalit leader added that he would soon meet Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and seek 30 acres of land for the construction of a grand Buddhist temple. He had announced in February this year that he would be seeking a piece of land for the same purpose.
Athavale, who is the president of the Republican Party of India, said a trust will be formed soon that will procure the land and construct Buddhist temple there.
“Even before the construction of the Babri Masjid, there was a Ram temple. Records also show that there was a Buddha Vihar prior to the Ram temple. However, the dispute over the temple-mosque in Ayodhya has been settled forever. The court has given its verdict and we have welcomed it,’’ he noted.
Athavale said that the Supreme Court in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit verdict last year gave the disputed site to the Hindus for construction of a Ram temple and ordered the UP government to give 5 acres of land to the Sunni Waqf Board at an alternate place in Ayodhya for the construction of a mosque. “ have been demanding for the construction of Buddha Vihar in Ayodhya for the last 10 years. I will meet CM Yogi Aadityanath and request for 30 acres of land for the same,’’ he said.
Athavale recalled that there were many Buddhist temples in India during the reign of Emperor Ashoka, before the influence of Hinduism increased.