After two days of deliberations dominated by the demand for a Ram temple in Ayodhya, the Akhil Bharatiya Sant Samiti Sunday asked the union government to bring an ordinance or a law to build the temple. The sadhus also appealed to followers and to Hindus, in general, to ensure that the Narendra Modi government returns to power in 2019. People should vote for those who have faith in “cow, Ganga, Geeta, Gayatri, and Govind”, they said.
The Sant Samiti announced three more “dharma sabhas” — in Ayodhya, Nagpur, and Bengaluru — on November 25, and a larger congregation of sadhus in Delhi on December 9. From December 18 onwards, 500 more such meetings would be held across the country, they said.
Reading from the “Dharmesh” of saints on various issues, Samiti head Hansdevacharya said, “Agar jeevit rehna hai, math-mandir bacchanal hai, been-beta bachani hai, Sanskriti our sanskar bacchanal hai to is sarkar ko Dobara se Ileana hai (If we have to protect our lives, temples and maths, daughters and sisters, culture and tradition, then this government must be brought back).”
The saints had expectations from the current government, which no other government could fulfill, he said. “Only this government will meet our expectations. Apna Desh bhi Bachao, Apni Sanskriti bhi Bachao, our per se is Bharat ke and Yahi sarkar ko 2019 I was Lao, Lao, Lao… Jai Shri Ram (Save the country and its culture, bring back this government in 2019)!”
Hansdevacharya said the saints were hurt with the delay in clearing the path for the building of the Ram temple. “But at the same time, we are satisfied with the central government’s work related to the nation, religion, culture, national security, and national pride,” he said.
Sant Govinda Giri of Pune said “certain forces” were trying to destabilize the government, and that a “conspiracy” against the government was afoot in Madhya Pradesh. “We should bear in mind while planning for the future that our central government should not be destabilized in any situation,” Giri said. The Saints want the BJP-led government to return, he said.
The gathering called for the creation of a new “Teerthan Ministry” to promote pilgrimages, and to ensure that pilgrimage centers were not turned into tourism destinations. They also demanded a National Ganga River Act to protect the sacred river and a “Gau Mantralaya” for the protection and conservation of cows.
The Dharmesh asked the government to identify and deport Rohingya Muslims. It demanded a Uniform Civil Code and a “national population policy” to control the “imbalance” in population, and a National Register of Citizens (NRC) across the country to identify “illegal migrants” with 1947 as the reference year.
Earlier, Vasudevanand Maharaj, who presided over the two-day meet, demanded that the name Delhi, “given by Muslim rulers and the British”, should be changed to Indraprastha “as per our tradition”.
Art of Living founder Sri Ravi Shankar, who visited the congregation Sunday, said there were three possible ways forward on the issue of the Ram temple: that of dialogue, that of an appeal to the Supreme Court seeking an early verdict, and that of making a request to the government. The people wanted a grand temple in Ayodhya, Ravi Shankar said.
Ravi Shankar also said those who were demanding the entry of women of menstruating age into the Sabarimala temple were not “bhakts” (followers). “Hamare yahaan jab sutak Hota hai, Patak Hota hai ya mask dharma Hota Hai… koi mandir Nahi data… Ek niyam hai (In our society, one does not visit temples when one is menstruating. That is the rule),” he said. This, he said, was similar to Muslims wearing unstitched clothes while on Hajj, or devotees covering their heads in a gurdwara.
The Sabarimala temple opens on Monday evening.
Separately, union minister Uma Bharti told PTI in an interview that while Hindus were the “most tolerant” people in the world, any talk of constructing a mosque on the periphery of a Ram temple in Ayodhya could make them “intolerant”. She invited Congress president Rahul Gandhi to lay the foundation stone of the temple in Ayodhya with her in order to “atone for the sins” of his party.
Bharti’s ministerial colleague Giriraj Singh said: “no power in the world” could prevent the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya; Singh was echoed by Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, and state Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath promised some “good news” on Ayodhya, separate PTI reports said.