AYODHYA: The ‘namaz’ and ‘wazu’ programme on the bank of Saryu river in Ayodhya had to be cancelled due to stiff opposition from a section of saffron outfits on Thursday. It was to be hosted by RSS-affiliate Rashtriya Muslim Manch.
According to reports, a group of seers — led by Mahant Raju Das and Dharam Sena leader Santosh Dubey, both are considered close to former VHP chief Pravin Togadia — opposed the programme, saying the “pious Saryu water would become impure due to this”. Raju Das threatened to immolate himself if ‘namaz’ was held on the banks of “holy Saryu”.
Fearing unrest as a large number of protesters had reached the venue before the start of the programme, the administration deployed heavy security on the river banks. More than 1,000 Muslims had gathered at the venue by then. The ‘namaz’ was later performed at Nau Ghazi shrine, about 3km from the river banks. UP minister Laxmi Narayan and BJP MLA Ved Prakash Gupta took part in the ‘namaz’.
Raju Das, a seer of Hanuman Garhi temple, told TOI: “The Saryu is a pious river. We sadhus and Hindu devotees take bath here to perform worship of Lord Ram. We will not allow Muslims to perform ‘wazu’ in this pious river as it will become impure. Performing ‘namaz’ on the holy land of ‘Saryu Ghaat’ cannot be tolerated.”
The Rashtriya Muslim Manch, which had earlier hosted roza iftar during Ramzan in Ayodhya, was disappointed for not being able to host the ‘namaz’, despite a receiving the nod from the administration.
Santosh Dubey, the Dharam Sena leader and one of the prime accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case who also opposed the programme, said: “We want a grand Ram Mandir. We don’t want these types of drama being created by RSS and BJP to divert the mind of Hindus from the real issue of the temple.”