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Communalism

On Last Day in Parliament BJP Tries to Draw Ram Temple Back on Political Centre-Stage

Amit Shah, who did not attend the pran pratishthan ceremony, spoke of the Ayodhya litigation in court. Congress' Gaurav Gogoi asked BJP to shed the "path of Nathuram Godse" and AIMIM's Asaduddin Owaisi asked if the government only favoured one particular faith.

New Delhi: Union home minister Amit Shah said to parliament on Saturday (February 10) that the Supreme Court’s verdict on the Ram Janambhoomi showed India’s secularism to the world and that in no other country did the majority community have to fight such a long legal battle for its faith.

Addressing the Lok Sabha during the discussion titled “Discussion on the construction of the historic Ram Temple and the Pran Pratishtha”, Shah said that the Ram temple in Ayodhya had showed to the country that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi fulfil the promises they make.

“When the Supreme Court itself has given an order through a 5-judge bench, how can you question it? If you like the order then accept the order and if you don’t like the order you still will have to respect the court,” he said.

“The Supreme Court order has shown to the world India’s secular character. In no other country in the world did the majority community have to fight such a long legal battle for its faith. We have seen the way, and we have fought in the Supreme Court, and only after the Supreme Court judgement has a Ram Mandir been built. I want to reiterate, when everyone is celebrating, you should also welcome it and this is in the interest of the nation,” Shah said. 

Shah said that January 22 marked the end of a long struggle since 1528 that has ended with the construction of the Ram Temple.

“The date of January 22 marks the beginning of the journey of great India. This day paves the way for Maa Bharti (mother India) to take us on the path of becoming Vishwaguru (world leader). It was a day that marked the hopes, aspirations and accomplishments of crores of devotees,” he said.

“When we mentioned it in our manifesto, they said it was only to win the elections and that the BJP keeps making promises like scrapping Article 370, Ram Janmabhoomi, Uniform Civil Code or Triple Talaq. However, they oppose us every time we fulfil our promises. The temple shows that the BJP and PM Modi fulfill all their promises,” he said.

Shah said that during the consecration ceremony, no political slogans were raised and the message was one of unity. “I want to say with folded hands that accept the message of unity and move forward,” he said.

The interim budget session of parliament which began on January 31 was due to end on February 9 but was extended by a day to Saturday, with both houses of parliament holding a discussion on the consecration of the Ram temple in Ayodhya last month.

During the discussion Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi said that the party believes in secularism and that the treasury benches should leave “the path of Nathuram Godse”.

“We believe in secularism, but not the western definition of secularism. India is a dharmik (religious) country and we believe in sarva dharma sam bhava. We want to bind everyone. This is our culture and civilisation. I call upon the treasury benches to leave the path of Nathuram Godse; to not celebrate but condemn him. Ravana was killed by his arrogance. Your arrogance makes you blind to inflation, and problems in society – be it in Manipur or those faced by minorities. India is an ancient country; it was not born in 2014 or on January 22, 2024. Ram Lalla was always with us. Ram will be there when you lose too. Ram is in our hearts,” Gogoi said.

Gogoi also asked the treasury benches about why hatred has been infused to chants like “Jai Shree Ram.”

“Why is there such bitterness, and hatred when they say Jai Shri Ram? If you hate people and spread hatred, and disturb others’ religious practices, you cannot be a Ram Bhakt,” he said.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) MP Asaduddin Owaisi said that the government should clarify whether it believes in one religion.

“I want to ask if the Modi government is the government of a particular community, religion or the government of the entire country? Does the government of India have a religion? I believe that this country does not have a religion. Through 22nd January, does this government want to give a message that one religion triumphed over the other? Does law allow this? What message do you give to the 17 crore Muslims in the country?” he asked.

Amol Ramsingh Kolhe of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) said that while the construction of Ram temple was historic, there should be “no politics over religion and religion should not be in politics.”

“The world’s history shows that religious fundamentalism is harmful while religious openness is constructive and that is what Hinduism shows us,” he said.

In the Rajya Sabha, Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said crediting the construction of the Ram Temple to only Modi is to “insult those who fought for 500 years including those who fought in the Supreme Court.”