Ahead of the hearing in the Supreme Court on the Ram janmabhoomi dispute, Vishwa Hindu Parishad working president Alok Kumar has urged the top court to expedite the hearing so that the construction of Ram temple can be started by year end. Speaking to Zee News Digital opinion editor Piyush Babele, Kumar also talked about other issues such as the CIA naming VHP a terror outfit.
Here are the excerpts:
Question: The hearing in Ayodhya land dispute is slated to begin soon. How do you view it?
Answer: We expect the Supreme Court to expedite the hearing in the case. It is unfortunate that this case has lingered in the court for so long. It will be good if the Supreme Court hears the case at the earliest. According to lawyers, the case of Vishwa Hindu Parishad or Ram Lalla is strong. We believe that we will win the case. If the Supreme Court decision comes soon, we can overcome all legal hurdles and start the construction of Ram temple by this year end.
Question: You are talking about constructing the temple whereas most political parties have said that they would abide by the Supreme Court order on the issue. On the other hand, the case of Babri demolition is still sub-judice. How can temple be constructed?
Answer: There is no connection between the two cases. No one has even said that there’s any connection. While one is a criminal case against some people, the other is about the ownership of land. And if it is decided that the land belongs to Ram Lalla, the construction of the temple will be started.
Question: It is being said that there will be regular hearing in the case. Does it mean that the hearing will take place everyday?
Answer: It means that the hearing will take place at least thrice a week. And if this happens, the verdict might be delivered by the end of September 2018.
Question: Apart from being VHP leader, you are also a Supreme Court lawyer. When do you expect the verdict to come?
Answer: This is my situational assessment. It is possible that the hearing might begin by July end. If the hearing doesn’t begin on time, VHP will go to saints and seek their suggestions. Based on their advice, we will either fight or work in future.
Question: Recently, some saints from Ayodhya met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and told him that now the BJP is in power from civic bodies to the Centre. If not now then when will the temple construction begin?
Answer: I believe that the law is also on our side. And that is why I have repeatedly been saying that Supreme Court must hear the case soon and deliver its verdict. I am sure that after overcoming all hurdles, we can start the construction of Ram temple by year end.
Question: The case has gone on for 60-70 years. What if it takes three-four years more for the verdict to come?
Answer: No one has the time to wait for three-four years. If the Supreme Court deviates from its responsibilities and does not deliver the verdict soon, we will go to saints and act as per their directive. If needed, we will also go to lawmakers. We will ask them to make laws as Supreme Court is not delivering its verdict. There will be no delay in temple construction.
Question: You are talking about going to lawmakers, but VHP always goes to its workers. What is their stand on the issue?
Answer: VHP and BJP both have always maintained that sant samaj is leading the movement for Ram temple construction. This is not a matter of politics or power for us. We will do what the saints decide.
Question: Has there been any consultation with the Prime Minister or the government over the issue?
Answer: We keep meeting people who are part of the government. It will be in the best interest of the country if Supreme Court delivers a verdict. If the Supreme Court gives a decision, even political parties won’t oppose it. Today the environment in the country is also such that the temple be constructed peacefully.
Question: You said that you will go to lawmakers and saints if Supreme Court deviates from its responsibilities. Don’t you trust Supreme Court? And assume if the hearing gets delayed, it this a sort of threat?
Answer: On issues that it finds important, the Supreme Court even conducts overnight hearings. Our only demand is that Supreme Court understands the sensitivity of the issue. Therefore, it is not a threat, we are just expect the Supreme Court to fulfil its responsibility.
The VHP working president further talked about the need of ensuring harmony among different sections of the society. Referring to incidents like Bhima-Koregaon violence, Kumar said a large chunk of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe members are still lagging behind on social, economic and educational parameters.
On the issue of CIA keeping the VHP in the list of religious terror outfit, Kumar said that they do not bother about such steps taken by the American agency. He, however, added that the Indian government must take up the issue with the US through diplomatic channels.
Kumar refused to answer a question on the achievements of Narendra Modi government in the last four years.