Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is facing widespread condemnation for her statement saying that the foundation laying ceremony of the Ram Temple at the controversial site in Ayodhya on 5 August should become a symbol of national unity. Her endorsement of a political function by India’s Hindutva brigade at a disputed site has prompted many to slam the Congress for its fake definition of secularism.
Taking to Twitter Priyanka wrote, ” Tomorrow, on 5th August 2020, “Bhumipujan” of Ram Temple is being held. Let Lord Ram shower his blessing so that this function becomes a celebration of National unity, fraternity and cultural affinity.”
The statement shared by Priyanka also read, “The World, particularly the Indian sub-continent, has a deep-rooted and indelible cultural imprint of the epic – Ramayana. From times immemorial, Lord Ram, Mata Sita and the legendary tale of the Ramayana is luminously etched in our cultural, spiritual and religious memory. The Indian psyche has always been inspired and encapsulated the spirit of Dharma, righteousness, duty, sacrifice, compassion, love, bravery and service, that runs through Ramayana. From North to South, from East to West, the “Ramkatha” has manifested itself in immeasurable forms. As the Lord has infinite incarnations, “Ramkatha” has infinite forms.”
She added, “Lord Ram has always been a binding thread for humanity and human good in India’s ethos from times immemorial. Lord Ram symbolises sacrifice as also shelter. Ram belongs both to “Sabri” as also to “Sugriv”. Ram belong to “Valmiki” as also to “Bhasa”. Ram belongs to “Kamban” as also to “Ezhuthachan”. Ram belongs to “Kabir”, to “Tulsidas” and to “Raidas”. Ram personifies each one of us. Mahatma Gandhi’s “Rahgupati Raghav Raja Ram” bestows divine wisdom and equanimity. Waris Ali Shah says, “Rab is Ram”.”
No sooner did Priyanka share her statement, she began to face public criticism with many dubbing her remarks as ‘soft bigotry.’ AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi tweeted, “Glad that they are not pretending anymore. It’s okay if they want to embrace this extremist ideology of Hindutva but why all this hollow talk about brotherhood? Don’t be shy, please be proud of your party’s contributions to the movement that demolished our Babri Masjid.”
Here’s how others reacted on Twitter:
Congress Party was in power when Babri Masjid was demolished in 1992 and hundreds killed in communal riots.
Now Congress leaders are supporting the construction of a temple at the site.
This can’t be political compulsion! They have no vote bank left- this is soft bigotry https://t.co/dW359YJ8Yy
— seemi pasha (@seemi_pasha) August 4, 2020
Priyanka Gandhi’s tweet makes it clear that this “only a fringe in Congress” argument isn’t accurate. She’s whitewashing a huge act of injustice that was committed on Muslims. There’s no secular leader today with the courage that Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh Yadav had in 90s
— Aditya Menon (@AdityaMenon22) August 4, 2020
— zafar sareshwala (@zafarsareshwala) August 4, 2020
Had Rajiv Gandhi not allowed the Babri Masjid gates to be opened and a religious ceremony held in 1989, there would have been no Ram Janambhoomi movement. Rarely do I agree with Subramanian Swamy: full credit goes to Rajiv Gandhi. Sonia, Priyanka continuing the enabling of facism
— Shivam Vij (@DilliDurAst) August 4, 2020
The foundation laying ceremony on 5 August will take place at the disputed site where Babri Masjid stood until 6 December 1992 when Hindu fanatics led by BJP and RSS supporters demolished the 16th-century Muslim place of worship. The then Congress government headed by Prime Minister Narasimha Rao had come under huge condemnation for allowing the Hindu fanatics to demolish the historical site. The demolition of Babri Masjid had led to countrywide anti-Muslim riots, that left thousands of people belonging to India’s largest minority community dead.
It was Priyanka’s father Rajiv Gandhi, who had ordered the unlocking of the doors of Babri Masjid in 1989 to allow the shilanyas ceremony, in which the first stone of the planned temple was put in place.
The Supreme Court last year awarded the disputed land to Hindus.