Vikas Nahi, Ram Mandir Chahiye: Supporters at VHP’s Delhi Rally

Vikas Nahi, Ram Mandir Chahiye: Supporters at VHP’s Delhi Rally


“Vikas nahi, Mandir chahiye”

Chants of building a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya grew louder as thousands gathered at the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP)‘s “Dharam Sabha” rally organised at the Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi on Sunday, 9 December.

From as far as Bihar to interiors of Uttar Pradesh to remote corners of Haryana, devotees of all age groups, clad in saffron and “Bhagwa Dhwaj” in hand, marched towards the main ground with a unanimous war cry, “Mandir wahin banayenge”!

(Photo: Asmita Nandy/The Quint)
(Photo: Asmita Nandy/The Quint)
(Photo: Asmita Nandy/The Quint)

Even as the title suit of the Ayodhya land dispute case is pending before the Supreme Court, which is expected to announce a date in January for the beginning of the hearing, Ram Mandir supporters appeared determined to build the temple in Ayodhya.

“If the Supreme Court verdict is against us, we will pick up arms. Ram temple will be built there.”
Rakesh, Gurugram

Despite the Babri deadlock remaining unresolved for more than 25 years and currently sub-judice, right-wing groups are demanding that the Union government sidestep the courts and go ahead with the temple construction.

“Modi came to power talking about building a Ram temple. Now if he doesn’t build it, he will have to give up his seat in 2019. We have gathered here to give PM Narendra Modi a wake-up call.”
An undergraduate student from Bihar

While some claim they would prioritise “Mandir” over “Vikas” at the next elections, some others were of the opinion that “building a Ram temple would resolve the agrarian crisis and also make the country safer for women”.

The traffic police had issued an advisory detailing diversions in view of the rally. It had temporarily barred traffic on Ranjeet Singh Flyover (from Guru Nanak Chowk to Barakhambha Road), JLN Marg (from Rajghat to Delhi Gate), Chaman Lal Marg near VIP gate.

Elaborate security arrangements had been made at Ramlila Maidan including the deployment of snipers on high-rises.

(Photo: Asmita Nandy/The Quint)

Some of the participants deliberately chanted “Babar ke auladon, ghar jao” (Sons of Babar, go back home) while passing through a nearby Muslim colony.

(Photo: Asmita Nandy/The Quint)

Seventy-year-old Bakshi Bhai sat on a chair at the corner of a street near Delhi Gate, watching thousands of devotees march past his colony.

“Nobody is stopping them from building a temple. But making random jibes at Muslims while marching in the rally is not acceptable.”
Bakshi Bhai, resident of Delhi Gate area

We also met a few women, walking in support of the rally, who had little clue where the temple is demanded to be built. “We have come here for the construction of Ram Sri Lanka”.

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