Communist Party of India MP Binoy Viswam on Sunday wrote to the Centre opposing the telecast of the bhoomi poojan or ground-breaking ceremony for the Ram temple on state-owned broadcaster Doordarshan, PTI reported. He said that the use of the channel to broadcast the religious function at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh is contrary to the “accepted norms of national integrity”.

The ceremony of the temple on August 5 will be telecast live on Doordarshan, the trustees of the temple had said on Sunday.

In a letter to Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar, the parliamentarian said the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992 and the subsequent mobilisation around the Ram temple in Ayodhya “has been a source of conflict and disharmony in the country for decades now”.

“In a secular democracy, state practice and organisations must be kept devoid of religious inclinations and attempts must be made to ensure that the religious sentiments of all communities are respected,” the CPI leader added. “Given the historicity of the dispute over the land where the religious function is to take place, it would be mature for the government to resist the attempts to politicise the issue and ensure that the secular image of the country is not compromised.”

Viswam further pointed out that according to the Section 12(2)(a) of the Prasar Bharati Act, which governs the functioning of Doordarshan, the objective of the broadcaster is “upholding the unity and integrity of the country and the values enshrined in the Constitution”. Therefore, as a broadcasting channel governed by an arm of the Centre, the use of Doordarshan to telecast the religious function in Ayodhya must be avoided, the parliamentarian told Javadekar.

“As Minister for Information and Broadcasting, it is incumbent on you to ensure that organizations under your leadership uphold the Constitutional values that govern our country,” he added.

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath on Saturday visited Ayodhya city to review the preparations for the ground-breaking ceremony. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the event and set a silver brick into the ground as a symbolic gesture of ground-breaking.

Swami Govind Dev Giri, treasurer of Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, had on Wednesday said that the ground-breaking ceremony would be held around noon and Modi would offer prayers at Hanuman Garhi and the makeshift temple of the idol of Ramlalla before that. A total of 200 people, including 150 invitees, would be allowed for the ceremony, Giri added. The physical presence of others will be curtailed due to the coronavirus crisis.

Dozens of giant LED screens will also be installed in Ayodhya and Faizabad cities. A member of the trust said that they have made arrangements for every devotee to “feel and experience” the event amid the restrictions.

In a landmark verdict in November, the Supreme Court had ruled that the disputed land in Ayodhya would be handed over to a government-run trust for the construction of a Ram temple. The court said that the demolition of Babri Masjid was illegal and directed the government to acquire an alternative plot of land to build a mosque.