The Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, which will oversee the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, will have one Dalit trustee, Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced on Wednesday. “For such an unprecedented decision that strengthens social harmony, I thank PM Narendra Modi,” he said.
Shah added that the trust will have a total of 15 members. “The trust will be completely independent to take every decision relating to the temple and 67 acres of land will be transferred to the trust,” Shah tweeted. “I am confident that the wait for centuries of millions of people will soon end and they will be able to visit the birthplace of Lord Shri Ram in his magnificent temple.”
In December, Shah had said that no one from the Bharatiya Janata Party will be part of the trust that will oversee the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya. “I want to make two things clear: there won’t be any trustee from among BJP members and the government will not spend anything on the project,” Shah had said in an interview to Times Now. Media reports had suggested that Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath would be part of the trust.
Shah’s detailing of the trust came hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the setting up of the trust on the floor of the Parliament. The prime minister praised the Ayodhya verdict passed by the Supreme Court on November 9, and said the people of India displayed “remarkable faith in democratic processes and procedures” after the judgement. He said the Uttar Pradesh government has agreed to give five acres of land to the Sunni Wakf Board as directed by the Supreme Court.
On November 9, the Supreme Court’s five-judge Constitution bench had asked the Centre to set up a trust within three months to oversee the construction of a Ram temple at the site in Ayodhya where the Babri Masjid stood till 1992. The court had said that the Muslims should be given a five-acre plot elsewhere in Ayodhya for the construction of a new mosque as relief for the “unlawful destruction” of the Babri Masjid.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath also thanked the prime minister after the announcement. “PM Thank you, Shri Narendra Modi Ji, for constituting an autonomous trust to build a magnificent temple at the birthplace of Lord Shri Ram,” he tweeted. “The Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust will be able to take all decisions relating to completely independent and temple construction.”
Modi later took to Twitter to share his speech in the Parliament. “Today we take a historic step ahead towards building a grand Ram Temple in Ayodhya!” he tweeted.