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Why VHP is keen on dialogue now?
By PM Damodaran

Lucknow: Though the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court has ordered day-to-day hearing in the Ayodhya title suits to expedite a judicial decision in the dispute, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad is seeking to solve the issue through talks between the religious leaders of the two communities. Two reasons are attributed to the VHP's desperate attempt to find a solution to the imbroglio through dialogue.

First, the VHP is not sure that it will get a favourable verdict from the full bench of the High Court in the title suits. After Mr. Ashok Singhal had given an undertaking to the Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee that the VHP would accept whatever verdict given by the court, it has no other way but to go with the verdict if it went against the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. There is apprehension among the VHP leaders that the case may go against the Ram Temple.

Second, the Sangh Parivar leaders know it well that even if the Hindus get a favourable verdict from the full bench of the High Court, the disputed land may not be available to the VHP but may go to the main plaintiff in the title suit, the Nirmohi akhara. 

The VHP has no locus standi on the disputed land as the title suit is between the Central Sunni Waqf Board and the akhara. It is well known that the mahants of two akharas in Ayodhya, Nirmohi and Nirvani, are at loggerheads with the VHP for its sidelining them in its scheme of things. The mahants of these akharas have already announced their decision to undertake the construction of the Temple independent of the VHP.

In fact many mahants and sants in Ayodhya are against the designs of the VHP to undertake the temple construction by itself. The main trustee of the Ram Janambhoomi Nyas (RJN), Mahant Dharam Das, has demanded the handing over of the carved stones, meant for the temple construction, to the akharas to enable them to undertake the work. Mahant Das had even gone to the extent of alleging that the VHP had misused the Nyas fund amounting to crores of rupees. The Mahant, who had been alleging that the VHP was using the Temple issue for political purposes, had now issued court notices to the latter seeking the audited account of the Nyas fund. Among other mahants and sants who have arrayed against the VHP included Devendra Prasadacharya of Dashrath Mahal, the chief priest of the make-shift Ram Temple Mahant Satyendar Kumar Das, Mahant Jugal Kishore Shastri of Ramalaya Trust, Mahant Janmejay Sharan and Vishwanath Das Shastri, a former BJP MP from Sultanpur. Moreover, the chief priest of the famous Hanumangarhi temple in Ayodhya is a known VHP baiter.

The VHP, however, seeks an out of court settlement through dialogue on the pretext that it will only result in a permanent solution to the century-old dispute. The VHP leaders argue that since the court verdict will go in favour of one party only, it may hurt the sentiments of the other party, which in turn may result in hatred and permanent strain between the two communities. 

Several prominent citizens and seers have already initiated efforts to rope in the members of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) to start dialogue afresh to find a permanent solution to the dispute.

Among those who are making efforts to bring the two parties together to begin talks afresh included the Shankaracharya of Kanchi Jayendra Saraswati, Shankaracharya of Puri Nischalanand Saraswati, former President R. Venkatraman and a former Election Commissioner G.V.G. Krishnamurthy. Some VHP leaders have also demanded that Parliament should enact a law to give the possession of both the disputed and undisputed land to the Hindus to begin the construction of the temple without waiting for the court verdict if there is no agreement between the two communities. 

This shows how desperate the VHP leaders are since they know it well that the land may not be available to them to undertake the construction of the temple by itself even if the court verdict went in favour of the Hindus.
On the other hand, the AIMPLB is now against holding any dialogue to solve the dispute maintaining that the title suits will now be decided by the court soon, after it initiated day-to-day hearing in them. The Board had always been maintaining that it would abide by the court verdict, whatever it might be. In the meantime, the High Court-appointed Commissioner, Mr. Narendra Prasad, has begun the day-to-day hearing of the case in Lucknow. 

A Shia leader, Kalbe Jawwad appeared before the commission as the 26th witness of the Sunni Waqf Board. Kalbe Jawwad discounted the theory of the opposite party that a mosque without domes or minarets could not be called a mosque. He cited several examples to prove his contention.

Meanwhile, the VHP has chalked out its plans to produce witnesses before the commissioner. It is said that the VHP may produce about 50 witnesses, among whom will be historians and archaeologists, to show that the demolished structure was a temple. The focus of the VHP will be to submit archaeological and historical facts rather than documentary evidence before the commissioner. The Waqf Board, however, has plans to produce only about 30 witnesses before the commissioner.

Meanwhile, in a startling disclosure, Mr. Kalyan Singh, who was the Uttar Pradesh chief minister when the Babri Mosque was demolished on December 6, 1992, had said that a present Union Minister and two senior RSS and VHP functionaries had conspired and incited the kar sewaks to pull down the Mosque. In an interview to a local newspaper, Mr. Singh, however, refused to divulge their names but gave a clean chit to the Union Home Minister, Mr. LK Advani, who he said had dissuaded the kar sewaks from pulling down the structure. Mr. Singh also disclosed that he was kept in dark regarding the conspiracy till the last moment. He could not act against the kar sewaks as when he got to know about it, it was too late.

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