Union minister Uma Bharti said on Sunday that any discussion on building a mosque near the Ram temple in Ayodhya could make Hindus “intolerant” even though they are the “most tolerant community in the world”. If there cannot be a temple in Medina or a mosque in the Vatican, it is unfair to talk about a mosque in Ayodhya, Bharti told PTI in an interview.

The Bharatiya Janata Party leader suggested that Congress President Rahul Gandhi “atone for the sins of his party” by laying the foundation stone of the Ram temple with her. She said an out-of-court settlement of the matter was needed, and urged leaders of all political parties to support the BJP on the matter of “national interest”. The Congress will have to “quit the habit of dividing the country in the name of religion”, Bharti said.

The Supreme Court on October 29 adjourned the Ayodhya land dispute case to January. The court is hearing a batch of petitions challenging a 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict that ordered a three-way division of the land on which the Babri Masjid stood before Hindutva activists demolished it on December 6, 1992. The land was divided equally between the Nirmohi Akhara, the Sunni Wakf Board and the representative for the deity, Ram Lalla.

“Hindus are the most tolerant community in the world,” Bharti was quoted as saying. “I will appeal to all politicians: please don’t make Hindus intolerant by talking about building a mosque on the outer periphery of the birthplace of Lord Ram in Ayodhya.”

She added: “This is now only a matter of dispute of land, not dispute of faith. It has been resolved that Ayodhya is the birth place of Lord Ram...If they tell me that Ram Mandir will be built only over my dead body, then so be it.”

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said that no power can stop the construction of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya. “What we can firmly assure is that not even a brick in the name of Babar would be laid or allowed to be laid at the birthplace of Ramlala.”

Union minister Giriraj Singh on Sunday echoed Maurya’s remarks. “There is resentment and impatience among the people as cold water has been thrown on their hopes, but a way out [to construct the temple] will be chalked out,” said the minister of state for micro, small and medium enterprises. “No power in the world can stop the construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya.”

On Saturday, BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav had said that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Hindu religious leaders wanted an ordinance to enable the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.

Seers ‘direct’ government to bring in legislation

Meanwhile, a two-day conclave of the Akhil Bharatiya Sant Samiti, an umbrella body of Hindu seers, ended on Sunday. In the concluding remarks, Ramanand Hansdevacharya, the patron of the organisation, “directed” the government to bring in a legislation or an ordinance for the construction of the Ram temple, PTI reported.

More than 3,000 seers participated in the conclave to discuss possible legislation for cow protection, cleaning the Ganga and the construction of the Ram temple.

“We are very hurt that there has been no resolution to the Ram Mandir issue, but we are satisfied with the central government’s work related to country, religion, culture and national security,” the list of “directives” issued by the Akhil Bhartiya Sant Samiti said. People should vote for those who protect “gai [cow], Ganga and Govind [God]”, the seers said.

The seers also demanded that Delhi be renamed Indraprastha.