Ram Temple issue can only be decided by SC: Owaisi at India Today Conclave 2018
The AIMIM leader told BJP's Sambit Patra that the only article of faith to him was the Constitution of India.
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With the Supreme Court starting to hear the final arguments in the Ram Madir-Babri Masjid dispute, the debate in the political circles is heating up. Acting as the catalyst to rising tempers is the fact that the 2019 general elections are round the corner and every party wants to score a few brownie points on the Ayodhya plank.
Against this backdrop, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi, Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam, and BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra joined the stage to discuss the contentious topic at India Today Conclave 2018.
Starting the debate, Owaisi once again categorically denied the possibility of any out-of-court settlement over the issue. "Let the court decide. Everyone will have to agree with whatever the court decides."Patra immediately lashed out at Owaisi for not being respectful to the sentiments of the 100 crore Hindus of the country. "Owaisi ji always says it's a titular issue. Why doesn't he agree that Ram rules the hearts of 100 crore Hindus and therefore the temple must be built at the same site. Ram is an article of faith for Indians."
In his retort, Owaisi told Patra that the only article of faith that mattered to him was the Constitution of India. "I have no problem with anyone's faith but no faith can be imposed on anyone. The day that happens, India will become a theocratic country."
In a heated exchange on 'Ayodhya: The Politics of Hate' between @sambitswaraj and @asadowaisi at the India Today Conclave 2018, both Lord Ram and Tipu Sultan made an appearance.#LetsConclave18Watch India Today Conclave Live: https://t.co/KjC1wxatGG https://t.co/hqP9DV5jt8— India Today (@IndiaToday) March 9, 2018
The AIMIM leader said that even the Supreme Court has categorically said that it can't decide on an issue of faith and for it, the dispute is a disagreement over the title of a piece of land. He challenged Patra to let the attorney general of India (KK Venugopal) tell the Supreme Court that the government believes Ram Mandir is an issue of faith.
"I will not subjugate myself to your faith because this country has no faith. It celebrates every faith and every religion," Owaisi told Patra.
Talking about the Constitution, Patra said that even the Constitution has the picture of Lord Ram on its first page. Owaisi then reminded Patra that the Constitution also has Tipu Sultan's photo.
While Congress has been accused of not clarifying its position with regards to the dispute, Nirupam said that though his government supported the construction of a Ram Temple next to the masjid before it was actually demolished, it has now decided to go by what the court says.
He said while Ram is in every heart, the matter rests with the SC and that is where it should be decided.
Sri Sri's Syria comment
Patra refused to comment on the contentious statement made by Art of Living Foundation founder Sri Sri Ravishankar, saying if Owaisi has a problem with what was said, he should lodge an FIR. "It's an overstatement to say that Sri Sri was threatening the India," Patra added.
Owaisi once again reiterated that Sri Sri's remark was against the spirit of the Constitution and threatened India's law and order.
Sri Sri had told India Today in an interview that if the Ram temple issue in Ayodhya is not resolved, "India will turn into Syria."
Timing of the verdict
Owaisi said while he did not believe the Supreme Court is party to the conspiracy to deliver the Ayodhya verdict before the 2019 general elections, he was worried about the possibility. "Every BJP and RSS leader is mentioning 2019 again and again," he said.
On his part, Nirupam said that he was 100 per cent sure this was going to happen. He indicated that the press conference held by four SC judges was a sign that all was not well with the judiciary.
He went on to say that the BJP was not actually interested in constructing the temple but has been only using it at the time of elections to polarise Hindu votes. "The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has collected Rs 1,400 core in the name of the temple but they are not interested in building the temple."