Ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections due early next year, BJP MP Harnath Singh Yadav on Thursday called for repeal of the Places of Worship Act to allow for construction of Sri Krishna Temple in an alleged disputed site in Mathura.
He is the second BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh to make this demand in the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament. On Monday, Balia MP Ravindra Kushwaha had argued that if the farm laws could be repealed this law too could go. In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP has started a campaign for Sri Krishna Temple.
The Places of Worship Act was brought in by the Narasimha Rao Government in 1991, which, while keeping the Ram Temple dispute outside the purview of this law, froze the status of places of worship as they were on August 15, 1947.
Mr. Yadav, speaking during Zero Hour in the Rajya Sabha, said the then Government provided legal cover to foreign invaders who captured the birth place of Lord Krishna. The law, he argued, violated the right to equality and life enshrined in the Constitution.
His statement was met with loud protests from the opposition benches. But the Chair did not intervene and let Mr. Yadav continue. “This arbitrary, irrational and unconstitutional law impinges on the rights of Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists,” he said.
When the Opposition continued to protest questioning how this was permitted, Deputy Chairman Harivansh said Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu had approved this submission.
Later speaking to reporters, RJD MP Manoj K Jha said the Opposition would be writing a joint letter protesting against allowing members to deliver such divisive speeches. “Such issues, which have the potential to damage the social fabric further, should not be allowed during Zero Hour in Parliament. We should not forget the number of lives lost in the Ram Temple-Babri Masjid dispute,” Mr. Jha said.