The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has made a “political statement” about its commitment to build a Ram Temple in Ayodhya with the Centre moving the Supreme Court, seeking its permission to hand over 42 acres of excess land surrounding the disputed site to the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas (RJN), a senior minister said on Tuesday. The RJN is the trust overseeing the Ram temple plan.
“Only 0.313 acre in Ayodhya is disputed. In 1994, the SC had said the rest of the land around it is not under any dispute. The government has taken an in-principle decision to return the undisputed land and sought the court’s permission for it,” Union minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters in the Capital.
He maintained that the BJP has always said that a temple should be built in Ayodhya through a legal route and government’s step is a legal step. “We are confident that the government will get permission from the court at the earliest,” he said.
The move is very similar to the one taken by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 2003, when it decided to return the undisputed land, but the SC had ordered a status quo. The SC had said in the Ismail Faruqui case that the government can take a call on returning the land once the Allahabad High Court gave its judgement in the title suit.
This comes a day before the “Dhararm Sansad” — a gathering of Hindu saints — begins a key meeting at the Kumbh Mela in Prayag where the temple issue may be taken up. BJP chief Amit Shah is expected to take part in the congregation on Wednesday.