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Friday 17 January 2020

Singhal, Advani hailed for Ram Janmabhoomi movement

Ashok Singhal-led VHP was at the forefront of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement before the BJP led by LK Advani became its mascot in the late 1980s

Several leaders of the Hindu community who were part of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement appreciated the contributions of late VHP head Ashok Singhal (27 September 1926 – 17 November 2015) and veteran BJP leader LK Advani for a successful culmination of their cultural-political initiative. Accused of inciting a mob to demolish the Babri structure, senior BJP politician Murli Manohar Joshi said the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Ayodhya case was “historic”. He asked all communities to accept the verdict “with an open mind”.

BJP leader and former Union minister Sadhvi Uma Bharti, who happens to be a co-accused in the same case of Babri Masjid demolition, said she met with Advani today to bow before him after the verdict. Bharti hailed late VHP stalwart Singhal for leading the movement. Advani should be credited for altering the communal intentions ascribed to the issue of nationalism, she said. He showed that association with Lord Rama could change the nation, she told reporters.

Bharti said Advani’s devotion to the “cause of Ram mandir” was the root cause of the BJP’s electoral success. She said the BJP would get yet another term because of the issue.

Advani, Bharti, Joshi and Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh at the time of Babri Masjid demolition Kalyan Singh are among those facing a trial separate from the land title case while they, as much as the whole of the BJP, have always denied their hand in the demolition.

Singhal, Advani hailed for heading Ram Janmabhoomi movement

Advani had described 6 December 1992 as the “saddest day of my life” while Singhal would be ill at ease with that remark. “Stop describing 6 December 1992 as the saddest day of your life,” Singhal had said a decade ago in November 2009.

Singhal would say the day ought to be celebrated as “Shaurya Divas”, the day of valour for the Hindu community.

Ashok Singhal had joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1942 under the tutelage of Balasaheb Deoras. After obtaining a degree in metallurgical engineering, he chose to become a full-time pracharak.

In 1980, Singhal was deputed to the VHP, becoming its joint general secretary. In 1984, he became its general secretary and, later, the working president, a role in which he continued till 2011.

Who demolished the Babri structure is a question the answer to which is shrouded in mystery, as no organisation has owned up the act in the past 27 years. Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray had said he would have been proud of his party cadre if they had done it but the structure had been demolished before the Shiv Sainiks could reach the spot.

Former RSS ideologue KN Govindacharya expressed “extreme happiness” at the verdict. He said the nation could move from “Ram mandir to Ram rajya” now. Asked to whom he would credit the legal success of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, he said, “Lakhs of workers made sacrifices. For the leadership of the movement, I will give the highest credit to Ashok Singhal and LK Advani.”

Singhal was the VHP’s international president for years before the issue turned political in the late 1980s and the BJP extended its support to the movement that then began to be identified with the party.

The Supreme Court judgment on Ayodhya on Saturday was unanimous, paving the way for the construction of a Ram temple on the plot whose ownership was disputed until 9 November 2019. The apex court ordered the Union government to form a committee to execute the judgment and allot an alternative 5-acre plot to the Sunni Waqf Board, subject to the acceptance of the offer by the party to the dispute, so that it could build a new mosque at a “prominent” place in the same town of Uttar Pradesh.

The five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the trust to construct the temple should be formed in three months.

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