First time in 64 years history Ram Navami Puja and Ram Leela stopped in Ayodhya
Dr Shakti Kumar Pandey from Lucknow
IT is most unfortunate that while the SP government is making all efforts to appease minorities, it has overlooked the sentiments of the Hindus. There have been loud protests by Hindu organisations all around, when for the first time in the course of 64 years, the UP government instructed the district administration of Faizabad to stop the special Ram Navami Puja at Shri Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya. Similarly, the Ram Leela performance, which has been a regular feature since long, has also been stopped and the funds were not released in time for the same. These actions of the Akhilesh government have once again exposed the real anti-Hindu policy of the Samajwadi Party. The public say that the Samajwadi Party will have to pay the price in the forthcoming elections.
On Ram Navami, when the Ram Janmabhoomi Sewa Samiti members reached the first entry point of the acquired area of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi site near Rang Mahal barrier, they were stopped by the security forces and the kalash (the holy urn) was not allowed to be taken inside. This happened in the presence of the authorities of district administration, who affirmed that they had to abide by the instructions of the Government.
It is learnt that the government and the district administration have taken the support from a Supreme Court order passed about 19 years ago that no additional rituals can be performed on the disputed site during the ‘status quo’ order. However, the government and the authorities failed to realise that the Ram Navami Puja has been a regular feature routinely performed on the special occasion of Ram Navami for the last 64 years. And that is why despite the apex court’s order the rituals were performed every year.
The Ram Janmabhoomi Sewa Samiti has been performing traditional rituals on Ram Navami despite the Supreme Court orders, since that was not a new religious activity on the acquired land of Ram Janmabhoomi. It may be mentioned that the chief priest appointed by the court, Acharya Satyender Das, is authorised to offer only daily prayers at the disputed site.
Faizabad DM Vipin Kumar Diwedi tried to justify his stand by saying that the administration would abide by the Supreme Court orders.
In fact, the sources revealed that the government and the administrative authorities took the decision to appease the Muslim community, following an application filed by one Hashim Ansari, an appellant in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit. Following Ansari’s objections, the local administration did not allow a group of Vishwa Hindu Parishad activists to perform puja and religious activities at the disputed site on the occasion of Ram Navmi on April 19 this year.
Speaking to mediapersons, District Magistrate Faizabad Vipin Kumar Dwivedi said, “We will ensure no religious sentiments are hurt. But, we will abide by the Supreme Court’s orders and maintain status quo, as defined in various judgements.” He added that, “From 1994, the Supreme Court, through various orders, restrained any type of religious activity on the acquired land of Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid. Only the chief priest, Acharya Satyender Das, appointed by the Court is authorised to complete the formalities of daily prayers at the disputed shrine, according to the Hindu rituals”. He quoted three separate orders in 1994, 2002 and 2003, as well as the Supreme Court, passed on May 9, 2011, that status quo be maintained, while hearing a civil appeal in the name of Hafiz Siddiq of Jamiat Ulema Hind Vs Mahant Suresh Das and others. Another Muslim activist, Khaliq Ahmad Khan, a petitioner in the case from Babri Masjid side, was objecting to Ram Navami Puja for 19 years. And the government wanted to oblige him just in order to appease the Muslim community.
In a similar instance of anti-Hindu policy, the same Samajwadi Party government stopped the longest running Ram Leela performance in the world, just by stopping the regular funds allotted for the purpose. Since long the Ram Leela was being organised by the ‘Ayodhya Research Institute (ARI)’, an autonomous body of the Uttar Pradesh Culture Department. “People work on credit. Due to lack of funds we have no other option but to stop all the activities of the ARI. The notice has been put up to inform the general public as people come to watch Ram Leela every evening,” ARI’s director YP Singh said. Singh said that in the last fiscal, an instalment of Rs 90 lakh was not released and as a result all the activities, including staging of Ram Leela, have been stopped. “As the assistance was not released the institute ran into deficit of Rs 80-90 lakh, including around rupees eight lakh of Ram Leela. As the fiscal year ended on March 31 the second instalment of the grant has also lapsed,” he said. The Institute gets Rs 2.73 crore annually from the state government for various activities, including research work, organising Ram Leela and book publication, Singh said.
The Ram Leela organised by ARI was the longest running stage show in the world, he claimed. “Till April 1 the Ram Leela was being staged 365 days a year for the last nine years,” he said. Not only Ram Leela, the Ram Katha, which was organised just before the start of Ram Leela every day between 4 to 5 pm has also been discontinued, he said. A notice has been put up at the auditorium of Tulsi Smarak Bhavan that staging of Ram Leela and Ram Katha have been stopped, he said.
New age terrorism: VHP
THE Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) reacted strongly over the stopping of Ram Navami Puja in Ayodhya. VHP working president Dr Pravin Togadia while talking to Organiser termed it ‘beginning of Mughal era once again’ and the ‘new age terrorism.’
He said the Ram Navami Puja at the birth place in Ayodhya was not allowed because the local Muslims objected. The entire incident is conspicuous. There is pain, agony and anger among the Hindus all over the world and Sadhu-saints too are upset. It is the right of every Hindu to do puja in Ayodhya. Just because one community objects because the matter is sub judice it is unfair to Hindus to stall the puja this way. It has been a practice for the past 64 years. Matter has been sub judice for many years, but the Ram Navami puja was never stopped this way,” he said.
Dr Togadia further said, “This is a beginning of the Mughal era once again. At Kashi Vishwanath temple, on Fridays, many a times Hindus standing in the queue for darshan are attacked, the Devi Shrungaar Gouri so revered in the Kashi Khanda is now in Gyanvaapi (which the other community terms as Mosque) and Hindus are allowed Her darshan only for a day in a year. No daily puja! There are umpteen such examples. First occupy illegally and then claim ownership has been the practice of these people and now with vote bank strength, they bend political parties. Result? Hindus are shunned, insinuated, humiliated and treated as secondary citizens. This is new age terrorism by them: Using our democratic systems like judiciary, Parliament, etc they hurt us and also hurt the very systems too,” he added.
He called upon the Hindus to stand as one, keeping aside the differences of caste, language, region, gender and so on. “Hindus also must choose those who have never failed or betrayed Hindus in the name of secularism. Then and then only Hindus will not have to beg for pujas in their temples or do not have to worry about security, prosperity and dignity of their kids and family. More importantly, Bharat as a nation must once and for all make a decision not to accept secondary citizenship treatment for Hindus. Enough! Hindu polity without any ‘ifs and buts’ is the only solution. As for Ayodhya, daily puja of Bhagwan Ram is going on and for the rejected puja or Ram Navami we will fight for it democratically,” he said.