NEW DELHI: A united Opposition on Wednesday raised the issue of stones arriving in Ayodhya for construction of the Ram Temple, and blamed the Union government for creating an atmosphere of communal tension, which ultimately forced a brief adjournment of the Rajya Sabha.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, K C Tyagi (JD-U) said the circumstances for a communally-charged atmosphere were being created ahead of the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh scheduled to be held in 2017.
Quoting a news report, Tyagi said, “Two truckloads of stones for construction of the temple have reportedly arrived in Ayodhya earlier this week. Such activities are being planned only to charge up the atmosphere,” he said, quoting a reported statement by Mahant Nritya Gopal Das that there was a “signal” from the Modi government that the temple will be built “now”.
In response, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said stone carving for construction of the temple had been going on at a site 1.5 km away from the disputed site since 1990. The government and the BJP were of the view that the court decision on the dispute should be accepted, he said.
There was no ban on carving of stones and the religious leaders quoted had been living in Ayodhya, he said, adding that stone carving did not mean that the temple was being built. “Please wait for court decision. All of us should respect it,” Naqvi said.
But Opposition members from JD(U), SP and Congress were not satisfied by the statement and moved into the Well of the House shouting slogans like “UP Mein Dange Ki Saazish Band Karo (Stop conspiracy to incite communal violence).”
Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said there was no confusion after Naqvi’s statement that the government and party would go by the court verdict. But none heeded to his pleas, forcing him to adjourn the House for 10 minutes.
But when the House met, expressing concern over internal security, senior Congress member Digvijay Singh said Tyagi should be allowed to go ahead with his statement on the Ayodhya issue.
While outside Parliament, BSP Supremo Maywati criticised the UP State government of the Samajwadi Party for letting Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) collect stones for construction. “Samajwadi Party is in power in Uttar Pradesh. It is the responsibility of the government in the State to see to it that the situation is under control. When the decision is still pending in the Supreme Court, it is the responsibility of the government to not allow the work to take place,” she said.
She also claimed that when her party was in power, she never allowed such activities in Ayodhya due to which tension may arise. “If anything happens in Ayodhya (that violates) the order of the Supreme Court, then the government will be held responsible for this. BJP and RSS have always been trying to build the temple violating the SC order. This is nothing new. Centre should also put brakes on their own people,” Mayawati added.
Later, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu remarked, “All countrymen want a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. How, when and what is the question.”