Students vigorously protested a controversial seminar on the proposed Ram temple in Ayodhya. The event was held at the campus of Delhi University on Saturday under heavy security cover. Starting with Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy, the speakers at the event attempted to present an academic case for the construction of the Ram temple at the site of the Babri mosque demolished in 1992.

Swamy claimed that Prime Minster Rajiv Gandhi had personally assured him that he wanted a Ram temple built at the site. “He [Rajiv] started the television serial Ramayana to create excitement in the public,” said Swamy.

Rajiv and Singhal

Given Rajiv’s support, Swamy wanted even the Congress to support the movement to built the Ram temple.

The seminar is being conducted by Arundhati Vashishtha Anusandhan Peeth, an organisation founded by the late Ashok Singhal, long time president of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and one of the key figures behind the Ram temple agitation. Swamy is now the organisation’s president.

Protests and bristling security

Various student bodies agitated against the seminar and claimed it would communalise the Delhi University campus. The protesters were from the Congress’ National Students’ Union of India, the Communist Party of India - Marxist’s Student Federation of India and the Aam Admi Party’s Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti.

The vigorous protests meant the seminar was provided with heavy security cover. Apart from a strong posse of Delhi Police, in a surprise move, a 100-strong armed contingent of the paramilitary Indo-Tibetan Border Police also ensured that the seminar went of smoothly without any interruptions.

Apart from Swamy, the other speakers were Satish Mittal, a retired professor from the University of Kurukshetra, Vishan Bahadur, a professor retired from the University of Agra and Rajendra Singh, author of the book Sikh Itihas Main Shri Ram Janmbhoom (Ram’s Birthplace in Sikh History). The first day of the two-day event was attended by around 60 people.