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Taj and Babri Masjid, a silent bargain

The Art of Living Foundation founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is trying to broker peace between Hindus and Muslims over the Ram Temple-Babri Masjid dispute. The spiritual leader admitted that efforts were taken in this regard in 2003-04 too. He added that he is taking a non-political stand to bury the hatchet between two communities. According to him people today want peace and a platform is needed where both the communities forget their differences and display essence of brotherhood. Even BJP leader Subramanian Swamy too is mediating between both the communities.

An effort has been taken by both these leaders to ensure that no claim is made by Hindus for Taj Mahal and by Muslims for Babri Masjid. Often political parties rake the Ram Temple-Babri Masjid issue to derive political mileage out of it. NCP supremo Sharad Pawar had said that the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid issued would have been resolved if the Congress had not withdrawn support to the Chandra Shekhar led government in 1991. Pawar said that Chandra Shekhar had become the Prime Minister of India in 1990 and he also had taken an initiative to address this issue.

Pawar had also formed a committee under the leadership of Sharad Pawar and the then Rajasthan Chief Minister Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. He has made these revelations in his book On My Terms: From the Grassroots to the Corridors of Power” published in December 2015. According to him a formula was devised wherein about 60-65 per cent of the land, excluding the disputed site, could be used for construction of a Ram temple. Further, on the condition that the site where the tomb exists was to be part of the mosque, the remaining 35-40 per cent land was to be used for construction of a mosque. However, just before they could go ahead with the next phase of talks, Rajiv Gandhi had withdrawn support to the government. Earlier Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had said that Taj Mahal does not reflect Indian culture. However, later he took a U-turn by saying the monument is India’s gem and steps are being taken to conserve it.

Dilipkumar Gandhi, BJP MP said, “This issue has been blown out of proportion by media. Leaders should refrain from making irresponsible comments pertaining to Babri Masjid and Taj Mahal. Taj Mahal is known as national monument and has historical significance. Communal tension increases in the country when leaders issue such statements. Why is Sharad Pawar issuing statements now? What was he doing when Congress party was in power at the centre?”

Prithviraj Chavan, former Chief Minister of Maharashtra said, “Sharad Pawar had personal meeting with Chandra Shekhar and Congress had no role to play in it. After the controversy erupted over Taj Mahal, Yogi Adityanath tried to pacify people by saying that the monument is India’s gem and also had swept the road near Taj. Leaders make these statements to derive political mileage in Uttar Pradesh.”

Vinayak Raut, Shiv Sena MP said, “Leaders like Sharad Pawar and Yogi Adityanath are issuing such statements to derive political mileage. Pawar never spoke about this issue when Congress was in power. Why is Yogi Adityanath sweeping the road near Taj Mahal? It is just a cheap publicity stunt as they had already removed Taj Mahal from the list of tourism destinations in UP. Pawar could have resolved this issue but he was more bothered about Muslim vote bank. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar must not issue political statements and he must focus on spiritual activities. Subramanian Swamy should rethink before issuing controversial statements as it affects the society.”

Jayant Patil, NCP MLA said, “Sharad Pawar and Chandra Shekhar had tried to resolve this issue but they were unable to do so due to the fall of the government. Yogi Adityanath is trying to lure Hindu voters hence he is issuing controversial statements about Taj Mahal. Taj Mahal’s heritage won’t change simply by renaming the monument. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Subramanian Swamy are experienced leaders and I don’t want to make any comment about them.”

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