By Gyan Varma
The Nirmohi Akhara â that has been given one-third of the disputed land at Ayodhya by the Allahabad High Court â today held talks with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) to jointly construct a "grand temple" at the site.
Although the two litigants have been bitter rivals for the past many decades, the Akhara and the VHP have, however, agreed not to allow the construction of a new mosque within the 67 acre area â including the disputed shrine and the land with the central government.
"Ram Vilas Vedanti of the VHP had come to discuss the issue and the talks were positive. But talks will succeed only if VHP agrees that the temple of Ram Lalla will be controlled by the Nirmohi Akhara and no one else. We want to construct a grand temple for Ram Lalla; a small temple for our deity is not acceptable to us," Mahant Bhaskar Das, the chief of Nirmohi Akhara, told Business Standard over telephone from Ayodhya.
Das said though Nirmohi Akhara supports the ongoing talks between the Hindus and Muslims and it should continue, the construction of a mosque will not be allowed.
"The Sunni Wakf Board is aware that they will not be able to construct a new mosque at the disputed site or around it. If they want a mosque, it will have to be constructed someplace else. Since we want to construct a grand temple, we want to take control of the entire 67-acre land that is presently with the central government. The court has already given control of the garbh griha, Ram Chabutra and Sita ki Rasoi to Ram Lala and Nirmohi Akhara," Das added.
"Traditionally, the Nirmohi Akhara has been the custodian of Ram chabutra but they are our brothers. All our differences will be sorted out. It is like a family dispute between two brothers," said Nritya Gopal Das, chairman of the Ram Janambhoomi Nyas.
Nirmohi Akhara and the VHP have traditionally been at loggerheads over the temple construction issue as religious leaders of the Akhara perceive the VHP as outsiders in Ayodhya who came much later to fight for the disputed shrine.
"We have been leading the cause of temple construction for more than 100 years, all others came much later," Bhaskar Das said. Nirmohi Akhara had first filed a suit in 1885 with the sub-judge of Faizabad to allow construction of a temple at the Ram Chabutra.
Senior office bearers of VHP admit that the Ram Janambhoomi Nyas, an affiliated organisation of VHP, is a trust under the Registration of Societies Act, and it came into the picture only in 1986.
Before setting up the Ram Janambhoomi Nyas, that was created to oversee construction of a grand temple in Ayodhya, the VHP had formed another organisation in 1983, Ram Janambhoomi Mukti Yagya Samiti, to start a movement and put pressure on the central government to allow Hindu devotees to worship at the disputed shrine.