Ram Janmabhoomi event: Everything to know about PM's itinerary, attendees
The much-awaited groundbreaking ceremony in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, has been adversely affected by the coronavirus situation, forcing the authorities to truncate the guest list. As per reports, during the event tomorrow, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be accompanied by only four people on the stage. In total, 175 people have received the invitations. Here are more details on this.
The groundbreaking (or bhoomi pujan) is happening months after the Supreme Court settled a decades-old case pertaining to 2.77 acres of land. Hindus contested that the Babri Masjid, which was razed by activists in 1992, was constructed on the ruins of a temple where Lord Rama took human form. In November 2019, SC accepted the arguments, giving the land for temple's construction.
Besides declaring that a trust must be formed for the temple's construction at the disputed site, the constitutional bench, led by former CJI Ranjan Gogoi, also directed that 5 acres of land must be given for a mosque.
Notably, the first event to kick-start the construction was supposed to be attended by hundreds, but coronavirus pandemic spoiled the plans, prompting the organizers to invite less than 200 people. However, the biggest highlight of the event is the presence of PM Modi, who hasn't visited Ayodhya since 2014 when he came to power. He is expected to leave Delhi at 9:30 am tomorrow.
Reportedly, PM Modi will land in capital Lucknow and will leave for Ayodhya on a helicopter. He is expected to reach the temple town around 11:30 am. His first stop in the town will be the famed Hanumangarhi Temple, suggested reports. Along with UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, he will perform a puja there, before leaving for the main event.
Explaining the reason behind PM Modi's visit to Hanumangarhi Temple, a person in the know said, "Without Lord Hanuman, no work of Lord Rama can begin. That is why Modi Ji and Yogi Ji are coming and will do special puja at Hanumangarhi Temple."
PM Modi could reach the main site around 12 noon and will participate in the ceremony by 12:30 pm. Reportedly, he will establish a silver brick, as a symbolic gesture to start the temple's construction. Between 12:45 pm and 2:00 pm, PM Modi, Adityanath, and RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat, are expected to deliver speeches. PM Modi will depart from Ayodhya at 2:00 pm.
Besides PM Modi, Bhagwat, and Adityanath, there will be only two people on stage — UP Governor Anandiben Patel and Mahant Nritya Gopaldas. Meanwhile, BJP stalwarts, LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, who played pivotal roles in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, won't attend the event. Another BJP leader Uma Bharti will remain absent too. She would visit the place later, due to coronavirus threat.
Champat Rai, a member of the trust, said social distancing was considered while planning the event. "We have personally called and apologized to many people. Age is a factor too. How will Advani Ji (91) come at his age? So we have carefully prepared a list around these compulsions," he said. Interestingly, Iqbal Ansari, a Muslim litigant in the Ayodhya case, has been invited.
Another person who has been invited is Padma Shri recipient Mohammad Sharif, who cremated over 10,000 unclaimed bodies. The invitation carries an image of "Ram Lalla" and has a security code, that works only once. If a guest leaves the venue, they can't enter again using the same card, Rai explained. Ayodhya's doors have been closed for outsiders, to ensure a seamless ceremony.