`Religious issues should be settled outside court`

Updated: Sep 13, 2010, 16:07 PM IST

BJP’s national vice-president and founder-president of Bajrang Dal, the powerful youth wing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Vinay Katiyar is known for his unyielding religious ideologies and stand on Ram temple.

As the date of September 24, for the verdict in the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, approaches Zeenews.com’s Swati Chaturvedi caught up with Vinay Katiyar for a free-wheeling chat on her show Kahiye Janab.

Here are the excerpts:

Swati: The people of this country don’t seem to be convinced by your party’s ideologies. Have they lost confidence in your party?

Vinay Katiyar: When the Ram Janmabhoomi movement started in 1983, neither was the BJP a significant force, nor was I an MP at that time. We had received compliments from many stalwarts like Morarji Desai, Gulzarilal Nanda, Pandit Kamla Pati Tripathi and many senior Congress leaders for this step.

Swati: Even Ashok Singhal, the international president of VHP, said that the BJP politicized the Ram Mandir issue. What do you have to say about that?

Vinay Katiyar: I don’t want to comment on that. I respect all these stalwarts for their work. The truth will come out later when text books will be written on this issue. Under Ashok Singhal’s able leadership, this struggle rose to great heights. I admire all of them - Ashok Singhal and Acharya Giriraj Kishore, all India general secretary of the VHP. They are all saints.

Swati: Even though your party was pressing hard for the reconstruction of Ram Mandir, why did it fail to find a solution to the issue?

Vinay Katiyar: I do accept that this is BJP’s fault as we failed to pass this order during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s regime because of internal differences. But I have always voiced my support for the reconstruction of Ram Mandir on that land. I have great faith in Lord Rama. I told the PM that I will support his decision if he issues an order to build Ram Mandir there.

Swati: The verdict on the disputed land will come on the 24th of this month. Will you accept the Allahabad High Court court’s verdict?

Vinay Katiyar: Courts and judgment are supreme. One cannot overrule the court’s verdict. I will accept whatever the verdict is. But I can’t speak on party’s behalf. However, I do have a personal opinion that matters related to religion, sentiments and beliefs should be settled outside the court. The government should take an active role in resolving such matters outside the ambit of courts. These issues can never be solved inside courts. I am an ardent follower of Lord Rama. I am speaking as a founder member of Ram Janmabhoomi movement and not as a BJP leader.

Swati: If you are so passionately attached with the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, why didn’t you leave the party at the time when it failed to solve the issue?

Vinay Katiyar: I would not like to comment on that. This is not the forum to discuss such things. My comments might hurt sentiments of many Hindus and Muslims involved in the matter. I believe that some way out should have been found. I am a strong follower of Lord Rama and God resides in every heart, no matter in what form.

Swati: If the BJP was able to connect with common people, what made them lose elections?

Vinay Katiyar: One cannot relate elections, a particular party or somebody’s victory with religious sentiments of the people. Lord Rama is above everyone. He is the almighty and is loved by all. Even by our Muslim brothers, though in the form of Prophet Muhammad. I still emphasize that the land in question is the birth place of Lord Rama. There are no two ways about it. If some outsider invades our country and claims this heritage to be his, we cannot tolerate this. The land is ours; it’s our identity and pride

Swati: So do you think people still support you?

Vinay Katiyar: Everyone loves Ram. Sentiments and beliefs must not be dragged into politics. Atal ji’s ‘India Shining’ campaign failed as people didn’t relate to it. Our motto is to uphold the religious ideologies of people. Last elections proved that it is Lord Rama who is ever shining in the hearts of people, and not anyone else. The people’s conviction in the party’s fundamental ideology is intact.

Swati: Party members seem to be dissociating themselves from the BJP and forming their own parties like Uma Bharti or joining hands with someone else like Kalyan Singh. What is your take on this?

Vinay Katiyar: If someone leaves a particular party, it doesn’t imply that his faith in God has faded. I firmly believe that even today, Kalyan ji is a strong supporter of Ram Janambhoomi movement.

Swati: BJP is the leading opposition party in Parliament. You all had taken the oath before the Election Commission to uphold the Constitution of India. Then why was your Gujarat government’s junior mister of home, Amit Shah, arrested for his alleged involvement in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh’s fake encounter case?

Vinay Katiyar: It is very embarrassing that the Congress is supporting a historysheeter whose criminal records had been laid open by the then MP chief minister and a veteran Congress leader Digvijay Singh. How come the government is supporting a criminal? If they are so concerned about human rights, what does the government have to say about the uncontrolled situation in Kashmir where thousands of people have been pelting stones at the security forces deployed there?

Swati: Even the youth doesn’t seem to be in favour of your party’s principles. They feel that the issue is being politicised for personal interests. A common man has nothing to do with these issues?

Vinay Katiyar: I feel that a section of youth also believes in Lord Rama somewhere deep within their hearts. They also realize this. They are the ones who visit temples, offer prayers and offer prasad to God for obtaining good marks in their exams. I am sure that a day will arrive soon when the revolution will be joined by many others who are now holding back. We will soon witness a positive change with the slogan up in the air – ‘Aage badho, Ram Mandir ka nirman karo’.

Adaptation by Priyanka Singh