Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) in its recent ‘Marg Darshak Mandal’ meeting in Hardwar called for ban on river rafting and Islamic structures in Ayodhya. The Sangh-affiliated body, currently in its golden jubilee year, is in the forefront of highlighting Hindutva agenda. VHP General Secretary Champat Rai talks to The Sunday Standard on the recent controversies concerning the organisation and the Modi government’s one year. Excerpts from the interview:
VHP in its recent resolution asked for ban on river rafting in Rishikesh. Why?
Girls and boys, who river raft, have extra money. They go there to consume liquor, meat and indulge in obscene activities. Sadhus near the Ganga shore have to shut their eyes to this obscenity. Girls should instead have pools in their houses to do so.
One of the resolutions said no Islamic structure be allowed in Ayodhya. What is the rationale?
Jawaharlal Nehru removed George V (statue) from the India Gate. Ram Manohar Lohia broke the nose of George V. Indira Gandhi changed the names of hospitals. No self-respecting person would allow symbols of slavery. Babur had nothing do with the Indian Muslims. Why would we have invaders’ symbols in India? Ayodhya is a pilgrimage site for the Hindus, so no Muslim institutions should be allowed there. A delegation of sadhus would take up the issue with the government and meet Prime Minister regarding building of Ram temple.
Recently BJP President Amit Shah said his party does not have the mandate to decide on core issues. How do you react?
It’s okay. Their statement is not a reason for our discomfit. I don’t object to it [the statement].
VHP was running Ghar Wapsi programme. Is there a decline in such programmes?
If there is a decline, then those people who are opposing it should be happy. People should be happy who do conversion using foreign funds.
VHP had hailed Narendra Modi’s victory as Hindu rule after 1,000 years. How do you rate his government’s first year?
Who has taken the Bhagavad Gita all over the world? Who went to America and said he was doing Bhagwati upasana and fasting? Have you seen a PM doing Ganga Aarti? Our prestige has gone up in the world. Our soldiers were beheaded earlier, now it’s tit for tat.
Are there any issues which you want the government to respond to or take up?
Everything will be done. Let it function properly. We are not in a hurry. We are religious people. The first sign of religion is patience.