FAIZABAD/AYODHYA: After a day-long effort to facilitate a consensus between Hindu and Muslim communities on the contentious Ayodhya issue, Art of Living founder and spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar said on Thursday that “by and large”, Muslims were not opposing construction of the Ram Temple at the disputed site.
“There might be a few people who would say that it’s not true but after meeting with people from both the communities, I strongly believe that people of both communities can together arrive at an amicable and mutually acceptable solution,” he told reporters here.
Speaking to reporters after meeting litigants from both Hindu and Muslim sides, he said: “By and large, Muslims aren’t opposing Ram Mandir, but both sides need to come on the same page. I have received very positive signs from both the communities, who feel that we should come together and find a solution. Both communities have a goodwill and resolve to solve the issue amicably.”
Several sadhus and litigants have, however, opposed his initiative. On that, Sri Sri said, “I haven’t come here with an agenda… I’ve come to visit and hear everybody and evolve a long-term solution to this problem… I have never said I have a ready formula to solve this issue. I do not want to give a solution to this issue. I want people to come together and find a solution.” Chief priest of Hanumangarhi temple Mahant Gyan Das refused to meet Sri Sri when he reached the former’s Ashram.
Later, speaking to TOI, Das said Sri Sri had no stake or authority in the matter and was “befooling the public in the name of negotiations”. Mahant Raju Das, another priest of Hanumangarhi temple and senior BJP leader, said, “Sri Sri knows that Ayodhya issue is very close to a peaceful resolution. He has jumped in only to take credit.”
VHP leader and litigant in the dispute, Triloki Nath Pandey said, “Sri Sri met people who aren’t even parties in the case and have nothing to do with it. When Sri Sri paid a visit to our leader Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, we made it very clear that we can talk only if Muslims are ready to surrender their claim of a mosque unconditionally.”