Lucknow: Days before the Supreme Court pronounces its judgment on the century-old, politically and communally sensitive Ayodhya title dispute case, former BJP MP Vinay Katiyar –one of the key accused in the demolishing of the Babri Masjid – sprung up a surprise by openly declaring to pursue the “unfinished agenda” of Kashi and Mathura once the verdict is out.
Speaking to CNN-News18, the BJP leader said, “We are waiting for the Supreme court verdict. After that, we will build the Ram temple in Ayodhya and then will also move towards liberating the Kashi and Mathura temples”.
Katiyar’s comments come at a time when both, the BJP-led government at the Centre and at the state level along with the RSS, are exercising maximum restraint from commenting on the matter in pursuit of maintaining “communal harmony and peace” in the country.
However, adding fuel to the fire, the former BJP MP added, “If the apex court doesn’t give the verdict in our favour, we are ready to make more sacrifices.”
Katiyar has been one of the leading figures of the Ram Temple movement and was indicted in the demolishing of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, along with other prominent politicians like senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Uma Bharti, Murli Manohar Joshi and Kalyan Singh.
The criminal case against those who demolished the Babri masjid is pending before a special CBI court in Lucknow and has been extended to April 2020.
His statement also gains significance because historically, Kashi and Mathura have been on the agenda of the right-wing organizations such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and RSS, but was pushed to the back burner in the backdrop of the Ayodhya movement.
Until last year, the RSS led a fiercely aggressive campaign for the construction of the Ram Temple at the disputed site, and launched a nation-wide agitation, including a ‘dharma sabha’ in Ayodhya demanding that the government brings in an ordinance to pave way for the temple.
This changed in mid-2019, when the SC hearing on the matter gained momentum. The RSS was now seen as eager to ensure that the verdict is accepted by all amidst a cordial atmosphere. Recently, the RSS sent out a clear message to all within the Hindutva umbrella by appealing in a tweet to keep restraint and calm ahead of the verdict, adding that the court decision must be accepted by all.
BJP, too, had directed all its leaders to avoid commenting on the Ayodhya title dispute case.
Katiyar’s comments also come in the backdrop of the proposal made by Sunni Central Waqf Board – one of the most important Muslim parties in the case -- before the Supreme court-appointed mediation panel that said that “Muslim side is ready to surrender its claim on the disputed site with the assurance that in future, no other demand, including that about Mathur and Kashui would be raised up”.