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AYODHYA/VARANASI/LUCKNOW: Twenty-four hours after the Centre announced the formation of the Ram temple trust, Mani Ram Das Chawni temple in Ayodhya turned into an epicentre of revolt by seers with the 82-year-old mahant and president of VHP-run Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas, Nritya Gopal Das, leading the protests against exclusion of those who spearheaded the decades-old Ram temple movement.
However, before the mahant could address a press conference of the sant samaj to air the grievance, a phone call from Union home ministry doused the fire for the time being. Earlier, the mahant had expressed anger at not being made a trustee even as he considered himself a front-runner for the apex temple body’s top post. “Those who sacrificed their lives for the temple movement have been ignored,” he told TOI .
The BJP brass in Lucknow swiftly dispatched three emissaries – BJP MLA Ved Prakash Gupta, Ayodhya mayor Rishikesh Upadhyay and Ayodhya Mahanagar president Abhishek Mishra – to placate the seers. The agitated sadhus stopped the three BJP leaders from entering the Chawni temple and forced them to return.
Soon, Nritya Gopal Das summoned an emergency meeting of sadhus and scheduled a press meeting at 5pm, only to cancel the media meet after a call from Delhi. Prakash Gupta told TOI , “We have pacified the mahant after he had a telephonic conversation with Union home minister Amit Shah. Three posts are still vacant in the trust and mahant Das will be adjusted.”
The Ramalay Nyas in Varanasi, headed by Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati, has decided to challenge in court the Centre’s decision to set up the temple trust. Nyas secretary Swami Avimukteshwaranand Saraswati said, “The government did not follow SC’s directive in true spirit. SC had directed it to formulate a scheme, not a trust.”
“There was no transparency in appointment of trustees. Despite court’s restriction on calling Vasudevanand as Shankaracharya of Jyotishpeeth, he has been included in the trust. It is not only contempt of court, but has also hurt sentiments of Hindus. If there is a dalit trustee, why an OBC has not been named?” said Saraswati. Kanhaiya Prabhunand Giri – first Dalit to be appointed mahamandaleswar of Juna Akhara after six centuries – is sore at being ignored by the government.

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