PUNE: As the Supreme Court begins the hearing of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir issue on February 8, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will inaugurate a 39-day yatra with a fibre replica of Ram Mandir which will end at Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu. The yatra will pass through Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu and will raise demand for Ram Mandir and Ram Rajya among other demands.
The organisers are expecting up to 10,000 people to join in the yatra. “We have distributed 4,000 pamphlets in Maharashtra. About 200-250 sadhus from Maharashtra will participate in the festivities. We want to spread the name of Lord Rama around the country and do not want to create any animosity,” said Anantabuva Bhoir, a singer and representative of the Mission who is in Ayodhya to perform Geet Ramayan in Hindi.
Bhoir said that the yatra is for demanding a Ram Rajya. “We will go to people and show them the replica of the temple that we have gotten made for Rs 30- Rs 40 lakh.
“It was made in our ashram in Thane. We want Ram Rajya in the country, a Ram Temple in Ayodhya and Ram Charitra in the school syllabus,” he said, adding, “We also want the weekly holiday to be shifted from Sunday to Thursday and that a day be declared the Vishwa Hindu Diwas.”
Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary of the Communist Party of India - Marxist (CPI-M) while talking to Sakal Times said that this was clearly a ploy to polarise the country in the face of elections. “Firstly, it is clear that they are trying to influence the Ayodhya verdict which will be going on in that period.”
Yechury added, “Secondly, the government, after failing on all fronts, may it be economic or social, has only one card left to play for the elections, i.e. the communal card.”
Member of Parliament DP Tripathi, who is also the spokesperson for NCP said, “Such a yatra will only create animosity in the society. Such a hateful programme should be opposed and stopped.”
Talking of a need for raising awareness and fraternal tolerance in the society in the wake of the yatra, Yechury said, “We will try our best to keep the communal harmony intact. The organisers will use the presence of BJP as the ruling party in UP, MP and Maharashtra, but the role that the Congress government in Karnataka will have to be seen.”
Santosh Lohakare, Prant Pracharak of the RSS, said that he did not know the details as of yet. “We have not yet received any details regarding the yatra. We just know that there is some initiative by Yogiji (Yogi Adityanath) but have not received any instructions as of yet.” Madhav Bhandari, a spokesperson of the BJP, said, “I do not know of any such yatra and all the names of the organisers, as well as the organisation itself, are unknown to me.”
Bhoir, however, said that the BJP and the RSS were facilitating their travel and stay in coordination. “We have a lot of support from the Ram Mandir Nyasa, RSS and the BJP too. We have been given all facilities at the Kar Sevak Puram in Ayodhya. We will also perform Geet Ramayan in Dombivli and even Kerala during the yatra. This is the first time Geet Ramayan is being performed in Hindi.”
The Sree Rama Das Universal Mission, a relatively obscure organisation has its ashram in Ambeshiv Budruk near Thane. The organisation is headed by Swami Krishnanand Saraswati, Shri Shakti Shatananda Maharshi and Parag Buva Ramdasi. The ashram claims that it has been ‘rendering service to the society in education, training, psycho-spiritual healing and other social services for more than three decades’.
WHAT POLITICOS SAY ABOUT YATRA...
- Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary, CPI-M, said that this was clearly a ploy to polarise the country in the face of elections. “It is clear that they are trying to influence the Ayodhya verdict which will be going on in that period.”
- Madhav Bhandari, a BJP spokesperson, said, “I do not know of any such yatra and all the names of the organisers, as well as the organisation itself, are unknown to me.”
- Member of Parliament DP Tripathi, who is also a spokesperson for NCP, said, “Such a yatra will only create animosity in the society. Such a hateful programme should be opposed and stopped.”