NATIONAL

'VHP misusing trust funds'

NEW DELHI. MAY 29. Baba Dharmadas, a trustee of the Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas, has accused the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of "misusing" the trust's funds for political purposes.

Addressing mediapersons here today, he said that crores of rupees collected from the public in the name of the Ram temple had been used for purposes other than building the temple, such as acquiring land in Ayodhya, including karsevakpuram and Ramsevakpurram.

The trust's funds were also being used to finance the VHP's political campaigns, Mr. Dharmadas alleged. Over Rs. 2 crores had been withdrawn from the trust's funds, prior to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992, and a similar amount was withdrawn in January this year in preparation for the VHP's March 15 "shiladan''.

Mr. Dharmadas accused the VHP of "trying to create communal disharmony which neither Hindu religion nor any other religion preaches.'' Its plan to hold the "purnahuti yagna" on June 2 was to "create disharmony between various communities and collect funds for political purposes.''

Mr. Dharmadas had formed the Vishwa Dharma Raksha Parishad with the intention of bringing together people of all faiths. He was also considering filing an application with the court asking for the dissolution of the trust, he said. The trust had already been sent legal notices prior to his filing a breach of trust case. He had transferred land owned by his "akhara" to the trust on the understanding that it would build a grand temple; however, the political agenda of the VHP leaders, who control the trust, had derailed the process.He alleged that the VHP had demolished at least five temples around the disputed site as part of its Ram temple campaign — the Sankatmochan Hanuman Mandir, Sita ki Rasoi, Ram Chabutra, Sumitra Bhavan and Baba Abhiram Katha mandap.Mr. Dharmadas said the temple dispute should be settled by the people of Ayodhya and not by "outsiders.'' As the main defendant in the dispute, he had reached an agreement with the opposite party to work together to build both a Ram temple and a mosque in Ayodhya. He said he would donate 10 acres of land in the town for the construction of a mosque.

The VHP, however, contested Mr. Dharmadas' claims. It said that he was not a trustee of the RJN, although his name appears on its letterhead. The trust's accounts were audited annually and could be scrutinised by anyone authorised to do so — and Mr. Dharmadas was not one such person.

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