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Ram Temple an important issue but focus is on development: Rajnath Singh

Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday acknowledged that building of Ram temple in Ayodhya is an important issue and the Government would welcome an out of court settlement but as such it was focused on development agenda.

New Delhi: Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday acknowledged that building of Ram temple in Ayodhya is an important issue and the Government would welcome an out of court settlement but as such it was focused on development agenda.

At a press conference here to highlight NDA government's achievements, he also asserted that he is a member of RSS.

"All issues are important. But we have to fix priorities. Now, we are working on the development agenda. As you are aware Ram temple is a sub judice issue. We have to wait for the court verdict. But the two communities may hold talks on the issue and can find a solution," Singh said.

He was replying to a question on whether the Modi government has put the Ram temple and Article 370 (special status to Jammu and Kashmir) on the back burner.

The Home Minister, however, made it clear that currently no discussions were going on between the Hindus and Muslims to resolve the decades-old dispute.

"No talks as of now. If there is a middle path, nothing like that. But the matter is sub judice now," he said.

When asked about BJP President Amit Shah's statement that the NDA government did not have the majority to act on issues like Article 370, which gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir, the Home Minister downplayed it saying "abhi abhi to sarkar bani hai (government has been just formed in the state)."

Replying to another question on the role of RSS in government, Singh avoided a direct reply but said he himself is an RSS 'swayamsevak' and believes in the organisation's ideology.

"I am an RSS swayamsevak. I believe in RSS ideology as it promotes an India where all 72 sects of Islam exist. RSS promotes an Indian culture due to which a 2,000 year old church exists in Kerala.

"RSS promotes Indian culture by virtue of which Parsis from Iran are given utmost respect here. RSS also promotes an Indian culture where Jews are respected," he said.

The Home Minister said that during the last one year of the government, good governance and development had finally staged a come back after 10 years.

"Is sarkar mein susashan aur vikas ki ghar wapsi hui hai (during last one year, good governance and development have staged a comeback)," he said.

Asked about whereabouts of Dawood Ibrahim, the Home Minister said a red corner notice was issued against the underworld don and India has been asking Pakistan to handover him in a number of bilateral meetings.

"The last dossier (on Dawood) was exchanged in 2012," he said.

Singh also justified action against some NGOs for the alleged irregularities while receiving foreign funds and their spendings saying all action have been taken as per law.

"If anyone has any grievance, he or she can move a court," he said.

Asked about Indian youth joining the Middle-East terror group ISIS, the Home Minister said only a few people -- 10-15 people -- were involved with the group and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was taking action.

Asked about the standing of senior BJP leader LK Advani in the NDA government, Singh said Advaniji is our leader and we all respect him.

Earlier, making a statement on the occasion of NDA government completing one year in office, Singh said despair and doubt has given way to hope and confidence in last one year.

"One year of Modi-led government has created a strategic space for India. NDA government has revived the economy of the country and created an environment of hope and confidence. Development and good governance has made a comeback (Ghar Wapsi) during the NDA regime," he said.

Singh said China and India are fastest moving economies of the world but India will soon overtake China as the fastest growing economy of the world.

He said the country is witnessing 'active diplomacy' of 'multi-alignment' under the NDA regime and the Prime Minister has been pursuing the 'nuclear diplomacy'.

Sharing his one year experience at the helm of affairs in the Home Ministry, Singh said working in the sensitive ministry was more like playing a test match and that too of a longer version.

"We have strengthened internal security network without losing a wicket. The internal security environment in the country has improved. There is reduction in incidents of violence in Jammu and Kashmir and Left Wing Extremist (LWE) affected areas," he said.

The Home Minister said many initiatives have been taken in LWE affected areas. 2199 mobile towers have been approved in those areas.

Singh said the Home Ministry has started e-tourist visa scheme to promote tourism and the number of tourists using the facility has increased many fold.

He also said Rs 800 crore has been released for Border Area Development Programme (BADP) this year.

Singh said the Central government is working to make IUCACs (Investigative Units on Crimes Against Corruption) in 150 districts of the country and an advisory has been sent to the states to stop acid attacks in the country.

"The first year has been the year of consolidation for the MHA and we hope to strengthen it further," he said.

Asked to comment on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's allegation that the NDA government so far has not been able to bring back black money from abroad as promised before the Lok Sabha polls, the Home Minister said a number of steps have been taken by the Modi government ever since it came to power that include setting up of a Special Investigation Team to probe cases of Indians holding illegal assets abroad.

"Had he been in India, he would have known it," Singh said, in a dig at Rahul, who was on a nearly two-month long sabbatical recently.