Hindu youths clamour atop the 16th century Muslim Babri Mosque in this 06 December 1992 photo five hours before the structure was completely demolished by hundreds supporting Hindu fundamentalist activists. Pic/AFP
A push for construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya is likely to gain momentum from Guru Poornima next week when saints gather at the Naradanand Ashram in Sitapur to chalk out a roadmap in this regard.
"Saints from different akhadas of Uttar Pradesh and neighbouring states will be assembling at the ashram to discuss and deliberate on the construction of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya," Swami Vidya Chetanaiya Maharaj, who heads the Nardanand Ashram (in Sitapur), said.
"Guru Poornima is on July 9 and it will mark the beginning of a campaign to gather support from not only the saints, but also from the common public for construction of the Ram temple," he told PTI.
Referring to his June 27 meeting with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Chetanaiya Maharaj said, "We are confident that the commencement of construction of a grand Ram temple will begin well before 2019."
The 58-year-old saint also informed that after the Guru Poornima rituals are completed in Naradanand Ashram, he will embark on a special rath (chariot) and travel to different ashrams in the state, and also in the neighbouring states of Rajasthan, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand to elicit support for construction of the temple.
"After nearly one-and-a-half months, I will be returning to the ashram. And, then the final roadmap will take shape," he said.
President of the Rashtriya Kisan Manch, Shekhar Dixit, said until and unless the condition of 'rishi' (saints) and 'krishi' (agriculture) is improved, and problems addressed, "dawn of Ram Rajya in India will always remain a distant dream".
"Both rishi and krishi are an asset to the nation, and if their interests are not taken care of, then this will definitely not augur well for the country as a whole."
Dixit went on to say, "A large number of saints and farmers face threat from the land mafia, which tries to grab their land. If the Uttar Pradesh government intervenes, and sends the land mafia behind bars, then it will set a right precedent."
He added that on Guru Poornima, the volunteers of Rashtriya Kisan Manch will take a pledge to dedicate themselves to resolve these problems.
"We will work tirelessly, and continue to do so till the last farmer gets justice," he said. He was also of the view that time has come for construction of a grand Ram Temple in Ayodhya.