Clearing of temple site begins in Ayodhya
Ayodhya: Clearing of the Ram Janmabhoomi site in Ayodhya has begun with heavy earth-moving machines moving into the 67.7 acre premises, marking the beginning of the process of Ram temple construction.
The chief priest of the makeshift temple, Acharya Satyendra Das, told IANS on Sunday morning, "It is a memorable moment for Hindus as we are now looking forward to temple construction at last. Machines have begun levelling land and clearing bushes and heavy thickets."
Ram Lalla idols will be shifted 150 metres from the sanctum sanctorum of the makeshift temple to Manas Bhawan and placed in a bulletproof fibre structure till the temple is constructed.
The Ram Janmabhoomi site also houses more than 12 ancient temples, including Ram Janmasthan and Sita Rasoi, which are in ruins.
No rituals are performed here since 1993, when land was acquired by the Centre.
Dr Anil Mishra, a trustee, said, "The Trust will decide the fate of these shrines and on restarting worship in the temples."
Sources said that a decision is to be taken whether these 12 temples would be a part of the grand Ram temple or relocated elsewhere.
Meanwhile, in a related development, Triloki Nath Pandey, 76, designated as the 'next friend' of Ram Lalla Virajman and decree-holder of Ram Janmabhoomi as mandated by Supreme Court, has suffered a massive heart attack at his Karsewakpuram residence in Ayodhya.
He has been shifted to AIIMS, Delhi, where his condition is stated to be critical.
Ram Lalla Virajman is the infant Lord Rama who moved the Allahabad High Court in 1989 through his then 'next friend' and former Allahabad High Court judge Justice Devaki Nandan Agarwal.
After Agarwal's death in April 2002, a petition was filed in the High Court urging T.P. Verma, retired BHU professor, to be appointed as 'next friend' of Ram Lalla Virajman.
In 2008, Verma applied for retirement from the status of 'next friend', citing old age and ill health. Thereafter, Pandey was appointed as 'next friend' or 'sakha' of Ram Lalla Virajman in 2010. Pandey is also organisational secretary of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.