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Friday, December 15, 2000

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VHP firm on temple construction

By Neena Vyas

NEW DELHI, DEC. 14. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad is not worried about the survival or fall of the Vajpayee Government even as it remains firm on its ``promise'' to the ``Hindu community'' that it will build the Ram temple on the very site where the Babri Masjid stood, and where the makeshift Ram temple exists.

The carved stones being sent to Ayodhya ``were not for decoration or for exhibition but for use in the construction of the temple,'' VHP leaders asserted today.

Mr. Giriraj Kishore, general secretary of the VHP, today indicated that after the start of the construction of the Ram temple, the Mathura agenda will be taken up where ``we have to convert the de jure position of the land of the Krishna temple used as an Idgah into a de facto possession of that land by the temple.''

As Mr. Kishore and Mr. Vishnu Hari Dalmia, stepped out of Parliament House after listening to the Prime Minister, they appeared pleased. ``Vajpayeeji said in the Lok Sabha the same thing that he had told the media last week. He reiterated that what he had said earlier: the construction of the temple was an issue of nationalist sentiments.'' the VHP leaders said.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Kishore said that the work on the temple will start soon after the date is decided by the `dharam sansad' of Hindu priests on January 19 and 20 at the forthcoming Kumbh Mela. For strategic reasons the dates may not be announced publicly, but the work on the temple will begin.

This, he said, would be done, irrespective of the stand taken by the Vajpayee Government. `` We did not bother about previous Governments which fell on the Ayodhya issue, nor is it our responsibility to run the Vajpayee Government or worry about its survival, if the Government falls, let it fall, '' Mr. Kishore added.

Mr. Kishore indicated that there were plans for a `yatra' by Hindu priests from Ayodhya to Parliament early next year to put pressure on the President, the Prime Minister, and MPs of all parties not to come in the way of the construction of the Ram temple.

``We are also contacting Muslim leaders so that the matter can be settled amicably. If that happens, it would be good,'' he added, while making it clear that the Muslims would have to agree to the temple coming up at the disputed site and a mosque could be built on an alternative place. In fact it was the same formulation that the Prime Minister had articulated at the `iftaar' hosted by Mr. Shahnawaz Husain last week and which had fuelled the Ayodhya controversy.

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