Centre plans to build ‘Ram museum’ adjacent to controversial site in Ayodhya


New Delhi: This one is for making life easier for Ram bhakts, or so they say.

The Centre is considering a proposal to build a Ram museum in Ayodhya on a plot which adjoins the disputed site and one that Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal wants developed into a tourist hub.

This plot, which is not under dispute, is a candidate site for the museum proposed as part of a Ramayan tourism circuit, Union culture and tourism minister Mahesh Sharma said.

“The exact site is yet to be decided, but one option would be near the disputed site as it is the epicentre of public faith,” Sharma told The Telegraph.

At a public meeting in Ayodhya on Wednesday, Singhal had said the status quo ordered by the Supreme Court covered only 110ft by 95ft, and there were no restrictions on about 70 acres around it that the Central government acquired in 1993.

“This land around the disputed site has turned into jungle. The Union government should develop it into a tourism and cultural hub for the benefit of people,” the VHP veteran told the meeting.

Vinod Bansal, a spokesperson for the VHP, today said Singhal’s call was based on facts. “Thousands of pilgrims visit the site every day but… there are no facilities for them. The BJP government should develop the area for the benefit of Ram bhakts,” he said.

The Ayodhya dispute is over a site traditionally regarded by Hindus as the birthplace of Ram and the location of the Babri mosque that was demolished in December 1992.

The court has ordered “status quo”, which means no construction can start at the site. The final order is still awaited.

Sharma said if the Uttar Pradesh government agreed, there was no “harm” in accepting the proposal.

His ministry is all set to commission a detailed project report for the museum that is likely to be modelled on the Swaminarayan Akshardham temple in Delhi, which features a sound-and-light show, a boat ride, and a film on Swaminarayan. The museum will also house archaeological material linked to the deity.

“There would be audio-video content in the museum, apart from various depictions of chapters from the Ramayan,” Sharma said.

“We will make it into a visual delight. Various cultural bodies are going to be engaged to bring alive the folklore and legends associated with the Ramayan.”

In an address that many called “provocative”, Singhal had also said “Hindu-Muslim brotherhood and harmony cannot be created unless they (Muslims) forgo their claim on three places – Ayodhya, Mathura and Kashi”.

Zufar Ahmed Farooqui, chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Wakf Board, said he could comment only after “getting the details”.

The Telegraph, Kolkata

Source: abplive.in