The senior leadership of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and prominent religious leaders in Ayodhya are divided on whether to celebrate Shaurya Diwas on December 6, in the wake of the Supreme Court verdict in the Barbri-Ram Janmabhoomi land dispute. The day is celebrated to mark demolition of the Babri mosque in 1992.
Before and after the Ayodhya verdict in favour of the Hindu parties on November 9, religious and political leaders had urged people to restrain themselves from rallies and celebrations.
While the VHP leadership had on Friday announced that Shaurya Diwas (valour day) would be celebrated, Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas chief Mahant Nritya Gopal Das said there was no need for celebrations and everybody should focus on construction of the Ram temple.
Every year, a number of programmes - including hawans, sankalp sabha, prabhat pheri and public protests - are held on Shaurya Diwas.
“Construction of the temple is the biggest programme. Shaurya Divas is done, and what could be a bigger Shaurya Diwas than construction of the temple? The Ram temple is the only thing that remains, and that is what we are going to do. No programme is needed other than construction of the temple,” said Das.
On Friday, VHP national spokesperson Vinod Bansal had denied that the event was cancelled. “The VHP has said that there is no change in the programme of Shaurya Divas celebrated in December. VHP international general secretary Milind Parande has clarified that like every year, Shaurya Diwas will be celebrated with joy, excitement and restraint. He has clarified that the court decision on Ram Janma bhoomi is a subject of happiness, and but this will not change Shaurya Divas,” the statement read.
The same text was shared by VHP national vice-president Champat Rai on his Facebook account on Friday. Talking to The Sunday Express, Bansal said that they would go ahead with the celebrations. He, however, refused to respond to Das’s statement.
Meanwhile, VHP spokesperson in Ayodhya, Sharad Sharma, said on a request from Das, they had decided to not hold any programme on December 6.
“Mahant Nritya Gopal Dasji has said that the Supreme Court has cleared way for a Ram temple in Ayodhya, and with that, there is no need for Shaurya or Kalank (taint) Divas on December 6. He has said that Ayodhya is peaceful and it should prevail in the whole country. Just like we have sent a message of peace after the court verdict, we will not let any tension arise on December 6. Dasji has said that the act on December 6 was a reaction to what had happened in 1528, and in social welfare, there should be no repetition of both... He is a saint and our patron, and we will follow what he says,” said Sharma, adding that Das had asked devotees to light diyas at home on December 6.
Asked about the contradictory statements made by VHP senior leadership, Sharma said he was not aware of them.
Member of VHP Margdarshak Mandal, Mahant Kamalnayan Das, said that the programme may undermine social harmony.
“The whole country is happy with the court decision, and we will show excitement or shaurya (valour) only after the temple is constructed. We will not do anything that can hurt anyone’s feeling. This is my message to the whole country that nothing like this should happen anywhere. As far as the VHP is concerned, Champat Raiji is the one who has to take the decision, and he will not do anything without consulting us, religious leaders. He is coming to Ayodhya on Sunday and we will discuss this,” said Kamalnayan Das.