VHP to discuss Ram Temple, Article 370 at important meet
An important meeting of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) is scheduled for Wednesday-Thursday in Haridwar and the Hindu right-wing organization is expected to discuss the Ram Temple issue. Apart from the construction of a temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya, VHP will also call for scrapping Article 35A and Article 370, related to Jammu and Kashmir. Here's more on this.
Apart from Ram Temple and bills pertaining to J&K, the VHP is also expected to touch the topic of cow protection, claimed reports. The outfit might also discuss the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which BJP has been pushing for since the last couple of months. The Bill seeks to provide Indian citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Christians, living in neighboring countries.
Kendriya Margdarshak Mandal (KMM), the highest decision-making body of VHP, meets every year at Haridwar to talk about pertaining issues. The meeting is attended by several saints. Last year, the BJP led government clarified it won't take a decision on Ram Temple till Supreme Court passes an order. Despite this, VHP pressurized the government to pass a bill to facilitate the construction of the temple.
The construction of Ram Temple has been VHP's long-standing demand. VHP cadres (or karsewaks) played a pivotal role in demolishing the Babri Masjid in the Uttar Pradesh town in 1992. Armed with weapons, workers of VHP and BJP climbed atop the 16th-century mosque to deface it. Since the demolition, the site has been off limits to the general public. A court case is underway.
In 2010, the Allahabad High Court passed a judgment in the communally-sensitive case. The court divided the land equally among three parties: deity Ram Lalla, Sunni Waqf Board (which handles the mosque), and Nirmohi Akhada. The parties approached SC and recently Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi-led bench referred the case for mediation. The panel is hoping to reach an amicable solution through talks.
Quite understandably, the pro-temple voices have been amplified after BJP returned to power with a thumping majority in recently concluded elections. Last year, BJP's Rajya Sabha MP Rakesh Sinha said he would introduce a private member bill for the construction of the temple. But he didn't. With 303 seats in Lok Sabha, BJP doesn't really need support from anyone to pass any bill.
Interestingly, construction of Ram Temple has been the only constant in BJP's manifestos since 1996, when the first general polls were held after Babri Masjid demolition. In its 2019 manifesto too, BJP said, "We will explore all possibilities within the framework of the Constitution and all necessary efforts to facilitate the expeditious construction of the Ram Temple." It's left to be seen if the saffron party keeps its promise or not.