27. VHP drops plan to 'liberate' Kashi, Mathura
New Delhi, 29 March 1997
27. VHP drops plan to ‘liberate’ Kashi, Mathura
AYODHYA. March 28 - The Vishwa Hindu Parishad in a major policy shift has dropped its ‘Direct action Plan’ to ‘liberate’ Kashi and Mathura.
At the three-day in-camera proceedings of the VHP which concluded at Karsevakpuram here today, the front ranking leaders of the parishad abandoned programmes to launch movement to ‘liberate’ the two shrines by taking possession of the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi and the Shahi Mosque in Mathura which they consider encroachment upon the Lord Vishwanath Temple and Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi Temple respectively.
Mr. Ashok Singhal, working president of the VHP confirmed today that ‘right now there is no programme for direct action to liberate the shrines at Kashi and Mathura’.
Mr. Singhal soon after delivering the valedictory address to a gathering of 200 delegates of the VHP drawn from different parts of the country told The Statesman that ‘our thrust as for the present is to mobilise mass support and go in for awakening drive to educate the people on the historical excesses committed on the two shrines’.1
But the VHP has not abandoned its claim on the shrines at Ayodhya, Kashi or Mathura which continue to be on the agenda of the parishad. ‘Any decision on the shrines has to be approved by the ‘Dharma Sansad’ comprising Sants and Shankaracharyas which is the apex body on the subject’, Mr. Singhal clarified.
The VHP leaders also claimed that the parishad did not believe on calling kar sevaks in large number in future at Mathura or Kashi as it was done at Ayodhya leading to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992. For the time being the Dharma Sansad has decided against mobilising kar sevaks around Kashi and Mathura temples.
Shifting the focus from the contentious issue of the shrines the three day conclave emphasised on soft agenda which included cleansing of Ganga from pollution and renewed agitation against cow slaughter. Besides, the VHP would open front against conversion of Hindus to Islam and Christianity. There is nothing new about it.
According to some delegates who refused to disclose their identity, the VHP is against precipitating any crisis that may jeoparadise the prospects of the Bharatiya Janata Party which is aiming for a national acceptability.
Strategically, the VHP delegates say, the parishad would raise its own band of followers region wise strong enough to mobilise a million volunteers at any place to give effect to its programme. But this is a continuous process to unite the Hindus and to achieve the cherished goal of a government favourably disposed towards the cause of the Hindutva.
To put up a brave front Mr. Singhal said, ‘we are going to declare a war against all those forces who are bent upon dividing the nation’. When asked to elaborate, the VHP leader identified the onslaught of the Islamic countries and the dubious role of the United States who wanted India to disintegrate.
Nearer home the VHP would also take on the political parties and the governments whether in the States or at the Centre whom it considered hostile to the cause of the Hindutva that is nation.
The VHP’s shift in policy also indicates a joint attempt by the Sangh Parivar to ‘cooperate’ with the new political agenda of the BJP.
Ashok Singhal was speaking tongue-in-cheek. He was hiding the truth that the ‘Direct Action Plan’ was dropped at the behest of the BSP which had formed a coalition Government with the BJP in U.P. a few days earlier. The VHP is no more than a pretentious plank for fooling Hindus into voting for the BJP. The rest of its blah blah about the cow, the Ganga and liberating Hindu places of worship is no more than a smokescreen. ↩