This Is What Has Changed At Ram Janmabhoomi Since Adityanath Took Over As UP Chief Minister

by Atul Chandra - Jul 6, 2017 03:47 PM +05:30 IST
This Is What Has Changed At Ram Janmabhoomi Since Adityanath  Took Over As UP Chief MinisterYogi Adityanath became the first Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister in 15 years to pray at the makeshift Ram temple. (Deepak Gupta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Snapshot
  • Two years ago, the Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh had stopped the transportation of stones to Ayodhya. That has resumed now.

    On 21 June 2017, two trucks carrying huge stones reached Ayodhya for use in the proposed Ram temple. Another three reached on the morning of 5 July.

The Supreme Court may still be seized of the dispute in Ayodhya but signs emerging from renewed activities near ground zero (at the Ram Janmabhoomi) suggest that preparations for the construction of the proposed Ram temple were slowly underway. No one is ready to bet on exactly when the temple construction would begin, barring Bharatiya Janata Party’s Rajya Sabha MP Subramaniam Swamy and a seer, Acharya Ram Bhadracharya, who claimed that the temple dream would be realised in 2018.

But first, the activities in Ayodhya.

To begin with, the Union Government allocated Rs 154 crore for the construction of a Ramayan museum. On its part, the state government cleared 20 acres of land required for the same. The state government also upgraded the Ayodhya civic body to the level of a municipal corporation. Orders have also been issued for the revival of Ramleela in Ayodhya.

A day after the CBI court charged senior BJP leaders L K Advani, M M Joshi and others in May, Yogi Adityanath became the first Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister in 15 years to pray at the makeshift Ram temple. Although, he did not talk about the temple during his visit, he announced Rs 350 crore for sprucing up the pilgrim city while assuring its residents of “uninterrupted Ramleela”.

These developments must be viewed along with the arrival of stones for the proposed temple. On 21 June 2017, two trucks carrying huge stones reached Ayodhya for use in the proposed Ram temple. A little over a fortnight later, on 5 July morning, three more truckloads of stones reached Ayodhya, while six more were on their way. Preparations, of course, were in full swing.

In 2015, the Samajwadi Party government had stopped the transportation of stones to Ayodhya inviting condemnation from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).

Triloki Nath Pandey of the VHP, who calls himself the best friend of the make-shift temple’s presiding deity Ram Lalla, said that the transportation of stones for the temple has now gained speed. “More trucks are on their way and should reach Ayodhya in a day or two.”

According to Pandey, there were sufficient stones for beams and pillars, but more are needed for the ceiling and the first floor. These stones were mined and transported from Bharatpur, he said.

“Stones have been coming since 1991, and it was only during Akhilesh Yadav’s rule that the flow was stopped. The supply, along with donations from the devout, has now resumed,” Triloki Nath said.

About the possible date for the temple construction to begin Sharad Sharma, the VHP spokesperson in Ayodhya said he was not in a position to make a guess. When told that Acharya Ram Bhadracharya and Subramaniam Swamy have said that the temple would be constructed in 2018, Sharma said they were the right persons to talk to about it. “Or else, let the Central government move a legislation allowing the construction of the temple,” he said.

In Agra about a month ago, Swamy had said that the Ram temple “would be constructed in Ayodhya in 2018”. Seer Ram Bhadracharya too had claimed that the temple would be ready by 6 December 2018.

According to Sharma, the VHP spokesperson, there were 110,000 cubic feet of stones cut and carved for use in the proposed temple. Work at the “karyashala” (workshop) in Ayodhya has continued uninterrupted over the years, Sharma said. Although the present quantity “is sufficient to build the ground floor”, another 70,000 cubic feet were required for the construction of the first floor, he added.

On the possibility of a temple coming up, or its construction starting in 2018, Triloki Nath said that so far the Supreme Court Bench has not even had a sitting. “Let the Supreme Court hear the matter first,” he stated, while ruling out further talks with the Babri Masjid Action Committee, the opposite party. “The Allahabad High Court had ruled in our favour, so what is there to discuss?”

Atul Chandra is former Resident Editor, The Times of India, Lucknow. He has written extensively on politics in Uttar Pradesh.

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