Ayodhya: Days after the Supreme Court verdict paved the way for construction of a Ram Temple, a new war has started in Ayodhya. The war now is not between two communities but among prominent Hindu seers of the town.
The cold war among seers started soon after the apex court's order on November 9 to form a trust within three months to oversee temple construction. Since then, the seers have been commenting against each other to secure a place in the proposed trust and have not even spared Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, who is the chief priest of the Gorakhnath Mutt.
The big names involved in the tussle are Ram Vilas Vedanti and Mahant Nritya Gopal Das.
In fact, tension amongst the seers has even led to incidents of vandalism and ruckus in Ayodhya.
Mahant Paramhans Drags Himself in a Controversy
On Friday last, a group of saints and disciples of the Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, irked by comment made by Mahant Paramhans created ruckus for about two hours and could be calmed down only after the arrival of security forces.
In the latest development, Paramhans Das has reportedly been ousted from the Tapasvi Chhavni by his guru, Sarveshwar Das, for his “unacceptable behaviour and objectionable comments” on Mahant Nritya Gopal Das.
It may be mentioned that Mahant Paramhans is the same self-proclaimed seer who had threatened to burn himself alive in November 2018 during the Dharma Sabha called by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Sant Samaaj, if the temple is not built in Ayohdya.
In the past, Paramhans has been detained quite often in a bid to stop him from stoking controversies.
The tussle among Hindu seers came out in the open after an audio clip reportedly went viral in Ayodhya of a purported conversation between Paramhans and former Bharatiya Janata Party MP and senior VHP leader, Ram Vilas Vedanti. In the audio clip Vedanti is heard urging Paramhans to advocate his name for the chairmanship of the new trust to be formed.
Vedanti currently also holds the position of head priest of the Vashisht Bhavan. During the purported conversation, both Vedanti and Paramhans can be been heard making objectionable comments against Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, which outraged the latter’s disciples. Mahant Nritya Gopal Das is the head of Ram Janm Bhoomi Nyas.
Reacting to the purported “objectionable” comments made on Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, Acharya Anand Shastri, one of his disciples said, “The greed for becoming the chairman of the trust has made these people mad and they have forgotten how to respect the most prominent person of the Ram Temple movement.”
“We will keep protesting until legal action is taken against both of them. This is unacceptable and we are not going to tolerate such things at any cost,” Shastri said in a telephonic interaction with Newsclick.
Mahant Paramhans Das, however, denied the allegations levelled against him. He told Newsclick, “I am uselessly being dragged into the controversy and have no involvement in this. The audio clip is doctored.” He refused to comment further saying he was not well and “disturbed” with the episode.
Commenting on the war brewing between the seers, Naushad Alam, an Ayodhya-based senior journalist, who has covered the Ram Temple movement very closely, said: “These saints have struggled a lot for the Ram Temple and the credit was always taken away from them by the top brass. Since now a trust has to be formed, a fight for dominance has started. They will not come out on the streets but lobbying has begun, which is very much visible (audible) in the audio clip.”
He said: “Everyone wants to be at the top. Mahant Nritya Gopal Das is very prominent and respectable person and a strong contender (for a place in the proposed trust), which is why a cold war type of situation has arisen,” adding that “mud-slinging was never seen in Ayodhya and it is not good for the town’s spirit.”
UP CM not Spared
Senior VHP leader, Ram Vilas Vendanti, in the purported audio clip is heard opposing the name of Chief Minister Adityanath for the post of chairman of the proposed trust.
Vedanti, in the purported audio conversation, is heard saying: “How can a person of the Gorakhnath sampradaya (sect) become chairman of a temple of the Ramanandi sampradaya (sect)?”
It is to be noted that Adityanath is the head priest of the Gorakhnath Temple of the Gorakhnath Mutt in Gorakhpur and belongs to the Nath sect of the saints.
Vedanti did not responded to the allegations against him despite several phone calls made to him by this reporter.