The Maharashtra government on Friday announced that a new station on the Western Railway route between Jogeshwari and Goregaon in Mumbai will be called Ram Mandir. The new station in the city’s Oshiwara suburb will reportedly be inaugurated by Union Railway minister Suresh Prabhu on November 27.
The naming of the station is the result of a campaign led by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vidya Thakur who is part of the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis-led government. Shiv Sena leader Gajanan Kirtikar was also part of the campaign.
In June, Midday had quoted Thakur as saying, “The entire area where the station is being constructed is known as Ram Mandir. Why can’t we have the station named after Lord Ram? A famous temple of Lord Ram exists there. The state government has to take an initiative on renaming the station. We have informed the chief minister about it.”
Thakur dismissed speculation that the name was a reference to the contentious Ram Mandir issue in Ayodhya that led to deadly communal clashes in the 1990s. The English daily had quoted her as saying, “It’s not a religious matter. The whole area is famous as Ram Mandir – from the bus depot to the road. Even local housing societies name their locality as Ram Mandir in their addresses.”
In 1992, the Babri Masjid was destroyed by Hindu extremists who claimed that the mosque was built over the birthplace of Lord Ram. Western Railways Public Relations Officer Ravindra Bhakar had said the naming of stations was under the purview of state governments.