A 68-year-old Ompal Nehra senior Samajwadi Party leader who enjoyed the status of minister in Uttar Pradesh, has been sacked after his comment that Muslims should give up their claims on mosques in Ayodhya and Mathura and help build temples there.
Mr Nehra, an advisor in the state entertainment tax department, made the comment at a function last evening. This morning, he was sacked by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
Mr Nehra had said: “Where can a Ram temple be built if not at Ayodhya? Muslims should help in building a Ram temple in Ayodhya and a Krishna temple in Mathura and give up their claim on mosques there. In fact I would say that Muslims should join Kar Seva for the Ram temple.”
The leader was apparently referring to a controversy over the Vishwa Hindu Parishad or VHP gathering truckloads of carved stones for a temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya where the 16th century Babri mosque was razed by Hindu activists on December 6, 1992.
“I had also said that Hindu brothers should make mosques and Muslim brothers should make temples. said that a great temple should be constructed and mosque should be constructed at an adequate distance from each other,” Mr Nehra said today, defending his comment.
The VHP, an affiliate of the ruling BJP as part of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-led conglomerate, has led a decades-old campaign for a temple at the site that they believe was the birthplace of Hindu god Ram.
The organisation’s moves towards starting work at the “Ram temple workshop” near the site has been strongly countered by the Samajwadi Party government, with the administration saying it will not allow stones being brought into Ayodhya.
The Sources say the Samajwadi Party is violent at its leader for contradicting its tough line against attempts to re-energize the temple campaign.