Milind Parande: Once a temple always a temple
Parande, who is Delhi-based, was in Mumbai over the weekend
The steep-ish incline on Hanuman Tekdi, Sion-Koliwada, was bedecked with saffron. Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) flags fluttered in the hot Sunday evening breeze, as VHP secretary general Milind Parande addressed the press on the hot button topics – Ram Janmabhoomi and the Sabarimala verdict.
Parande, who is Delhi-based, was in Mumbai over the weekend. He said straight up at a conference held at the Ashok Singhal Rugna Seva Sadan in Sion yesterday, in the Sabarimala case, the VHP negated completely that this was a question of gender equality. "It is about tradition. Upholding the unique tradition of a unique temple is not discrimination. There are many temples dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, only Sabarimala bars women in the age group 10 to 50 from accessing it. Lakhs of women have faith in this tradition. We see the communist government of Kerala trying to erode the faith of the people by giving lathicharge orders against women who want to uphold tradition. We have witnessed Christian, Muslim and communists trying to get into the temple. Those who do not revere Lord Ayyappa try to get in. This is also a design to break the faith of the people."
On the Ram Janmabhoomi verdict, Parande said, "The truth has been upheld. Now there is a clear directive to the central government to form a trust and start work on the temple. We look forward to the next step. The court has taken a very balanced view. We must remember that this is a 5-0 decision."
A spirited interactive session followed, where Parande was asked first up about the review petition that the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) plans to file on the Supreme Court's judgment in the Ayodhya case. Parande said, "It is up to them. Anybody can file a review, it is their right and prerogative."
Asked whether the VHP will move on similar issues in Kashi and Mathura where two disputed mosques stand, Parande ruled this out stating that the "VHP has its hands full right now."
Adding that "Babar was a terrorist and a foreigner," Parande said, "the temple should be made from the crores that have been given as donation by people. The stones that have already been brought to the site should be used. It should be a temple for society and belong to society."
Parande stressed on an important point in the court order saying, "remember that the court recognised the juristic personality of Ram Lalla."
The secretary general was bombarded with a few questions about the pendulum swing of the Maharashtra government formation. He did not take names but it was clear where he was aiming his arrow, when Parande said, "We want the Hindutva ideology at the State and Centre. We believe all political parties must become Hindutvavadi."
Finally, when told that the court had made an observation even when pronouncing the Ram Janmabhoomi issue that it was wrong to break a place of worship, Parande said, "The lawyer for the Masjid said, 'once a mosque, always a mosque.' To which the lawyer for the temple stated
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