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No Dalit among 200 priests invited for Ram temple event. What Mayawati said

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to attend the big event for which Diwali-like preparations are in full swing.

Updated: Jul 31, 2020 16:10 IST

By Rajesh Kumar Singh | Edited by Ashutosh Tripathi, Hindustan Times Lucknow

Swami Kanhaiya Prabhunandan Giri (2nd from left) alleged he was not invited for Ram temple bhoomi pujan for being a Dalit. (HT Photo)

Taking note of a Dalit saint’s complaint, BSP chief Mayawati on Friday said it would have been better if the saint from the oppressed community had also been invited along with the 200 priests that will attend the mega Rample temple bhoomi pujan (ground-breaking ceremony) on August 5.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to attend the big event for which Diwali-like preparations are in full swing.

Mayawati, in a series of tweets, said the invitation to Swami Kanhaiya Prabhunandan Giri would have made a positive impact and would have been in line with the Constitutional design of creating a casteless society.

However, the BSP chief also advised the community to not fall into this trap and work for their upliftment.



“Instead of getting into these debates, the Dalit society suffering from casteist neglect, contempt and injustice should focus more on labour/deeds for their salvation. In this case also, they should follow the path of their Messiah Param Pujya Baba Saheb Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar. This is the advice of the BSP,” said Mayawati.

Swami Kanhaiya Prabhunandan Giri, lone Dalit Mahamanadaleshwar of Juna Akhada, on Thursday had expressed discontent after the organisers - Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust - did not extend him the invitation for the ground-breaking ceremony of the Ram temple to be constructed at the site of the Babri Masjid, which was demolished by kar sevaks on December 6, 1992.

The saints belonging to the upper caste groups have been invited, he said, alleging that he was ignored for being a Dalit.

The Dalits are being ignored in the Ram temple construction, he alleged, could be gauged from the fact that no Dalit has been made a member in the Trust constituted to supervise the construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya.

In Ramayana it is clearly mentioned that Rama worked for the uplift and welfare of the downtrodden and oppressed community, the saint underscored.

Giri, a native of Azamgarh, was made Mahamanadaleshwar in a programme organised at Prayagraj during the 2019 Kumbh. He is the sole Mahamanadaleshwar from the Dalit community in the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad - the top body that controls the activities of all the akharas in the country.

Dismissing Giri’s accusation, the chief of Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad, Mahant Narendra Giri, said: “When a person becomes a sadhu he loses the caste identity, all the sadhus are equal in the Akhara Parishad.”

HT’s attempts to reach out to the Trust’s local office in Ayodhya elicited no response.

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