Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, beef in Dadri: Mahesh Sharma issues latest series of assertions

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Bulandshahr (UP): Union Minister Mahesh Sharma has said that his government is committed to building the Ram Temple at Ayodhya but would wait for the Supreme Court verdict or arrive at a “mutual understanding” on constructing the temple. While speaking at a function in Bulandshahr, the Union Culture Minister also maintained that Dadri lynching case happened because beef and not any other meat was recovered in the house of the victim.

“Our party and government have already given their mandate on this issue. We want to build Ram Mandir but we will either follow the Supreme Court’s order or would come at a common conclusion about constructing the Mandir. This is why it is taking time,” he said on Tuesday.

He said it is the “dream” of the people of the country that Ram Mandir is built as early as possible.

“BJP is committed to build Ram Temple and even the people of the country want that the Ram Temple should be established. But the issue is pending in court,” he said.

With his remarks sparking a controversy, Sharma later stressed that senior party leaders will take a decision on the issue.

“Till an order is issued or mutual understanding arrived at, BJP should follow the situation and even I am not authorised to speak on this topic. Our senior party leader or government will take decision,” he said. The Minister also said that a grand museum is being constructed in Ayodhya.

“A grand museum is being constructed in Ayodhya. The Centre has given its nod to a Rs 170 crore Ram Van Gaman Path project which will depict Lord Rama’s ideals,” he said.

Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi stressed the Ram Mandir issue is in court. “The Ram Mandir issue is in court. Steps will be taken on the direction of the court and this is a non-political issue,” he said.

Speaking on the beef controversy in Dadri, the Union Minister for Culture, Sharma maintained that the meat recovered from the house of Akhlaq at Dadri was beef. The comment was made by the Union Minister even as the chief veterinary officer’s report clearly said that the meat recovered from Akhlaq’s house was not beef but mutton.

Sharma’s comments on Ayodhya come close on the heels of a VHP spokesman stating that the first lot of stones for the Ram temple have arrived in Ayodhya. VHP spokesman Sharad Sharma had recently said that, “Two trucks of stones have been unloaded at Ram Sewak Puram, a VHP property in Ayodhya, and ‘Shila Pujan’ has been performed by Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, the president of Ram Janam Bhumi Nyas.”

Das had said that there was a “signal” from the Modi government that the temple will be built “now”.

“Now, the time has come for the construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. Lot of stones arrived in Ayodhya. And now the arrival of stones will continue. We have signals from Modi Government that Mandir construction would be done now,” he had said.

Soon afterwards the Uttar Pradesh government had sought a “confidential” report from Intelligence Department on the two stone-laden trucks arriving in Ayodhya.

“The state government has sought a confidential report from Additional Director General (Intelligence) on the activities going on in Ayodhya,” IG (Law and Order) A Satish Ganesh had said.

“Two truckloads of stones have been unloaded at Ram Sewak Puram, a VHP property in Ayodhya, and ‘Shila Pujan’ (praying of the stones) has been performed by Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, the president of Ram Janam Bhumi Nyas,” VHP spokesman Sharad Sharma had said.

The Ayodhya temple row had also rocked the Rajya Sabha with Congress, BSP and JD(U) accusing the BJP and RSS of trying to divide Uttar Pradesh on communal lines ahead of the 2017 assembly elections in the state.

Opposition members had voiced concern over reports of two truck loads of stones for construction of the temple having arrived in Ayodhya earlier this week.

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