Yoga teacher Ramdev today weighed in on the Ayodhya Ram temple issue, over which a debate has been raging over the last months. Right-wing groups and a section within the BJP have been arguing in favour of the government's taking the initiative to start the temple construction, bypassing the courts where the matter has been pending, through an ordinance or an executive order.
Without mentioning the ordinance, Ramdev too put the onus on the government to begin building at the disputed site where many people believe Lord Ram was born. A 16th century mosque that stood on the site was razed in December 1992 by right-wing groups, triggering riots across the country.
"Either the Supreme Court or the government should do something for the construction (of the Ram temple). There aren't many possibilities of a quick judgment by the court, so I think that the government should take an initiative," the 53-year-old yoga teacher told reporters at the Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj, formerly Allahabad.
The temple issue has gathered traction at the Kumbh Mela, where various right-wing groups have congregated. Last week, Narendra Giri, the head of Akhanda Parishad said after the festival concludes, monks will gather at Ayodhya to take a call on the issue. "The BJP is not interested in building Ram temple as they want to keep the issue alive for election," he said. That is also the complaint of the BJP's fractious ally Shiv Sena, which is on a campaign of its own for the temple.
In his New Year interview, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the government was waiting for the legal process to end. "After the judicial process is over, whatever be our responsibility as government, we are ready to make all efforts," he had said, accusing the Congress of delaying the process.
The hearing of the title suit of the case - pending for six decades - is yet to get off the ground in the Supreme Court.
Earlier this month, the court had named a five-judge Constitution bench and said the hearing would begin on January 29. But today, a court circular said the hearing on January 29 will not happen as one of the judges in the bench will not be available.
Last year, the court refused an early hearing in the sensitive case that has been at the heart of a hugely divisive row. The right-wing groups and a section in the BJP have been hoping for a speedy resolution of the case, so the temple construction can begin before the Lok Sabha elections, which are due by May.