LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh Home Guard Director General Surya Kumar Shukla has sparked a controversy by taking a pledge for the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya. During an event at Lucknow University on Thursday, Shukla took the oath along with some Muslim leaders.
The one who presided over the oath was Muslim Karya Sewa Manch president Azam Khan, who has been vocal for the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya since Yogi Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government came to power in Uttar Pradesh.
However, speaking to media persons later, Shukla changed his stance saying Ram temple should be constructed only with consensus. “The Supreme Court has said that Ram temple should be constructed by peaceful means with consensus of members of all religions. This should be followed for the construction,” he said.
Shukla is an Indian Police Service official of 1982 batch. He has also reportedly been in the race to become the Director General of Police in Uttar Pradesh.
The Supreme Court began its final hearing in the centuries-old Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute on December 5, 2017. The case, which was back in the news recently after Art of Living founder Ravi Shankar's mediation, has the history that dates back to the 15th century. In November, last year, the Shia Waqf Board proposed that Ram Mandir be built in Ayodhya while the mosque can come up in Lucknow.
The mosque originally dates back to 1528. It was built in Ayodhya by Mir Baqi – a commander of Mughal emperor Babur – from where it gets the name Babri Masjid. However, a report by the Archaeological Survey of India suggested the existence of a 10th-century temple at the site.