The Ram temple trust on Monday said that 175 guests have been invited for the foundation stone-laying ceremony to be held in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya city on August 5. The guests will include 135 spiritual leaders and the residents of the city.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath, Governor Anandiben Patel and Mahant Nritya Gopaldas – the head of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra – will be the only five people on stage at the ceremony, NDTV reported.
Ram temple trust General Secretary Champat Rai told ANI that Iqbal Ansari, one the litigants in the Ayodhya title suit, has also been invited for the foundation-laying ceremony. Padma Shri winner Mohammad Sharif, honoured for cremating over 10,000 unclaimed bodies in Ayodhya, has also been invited for the event.
Rai told PTI that the guest list has been prepared after consultations with senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi. The two leaders will reportedly join the ceremony through videoconference amid coronavirus fears. Uma Bharti had on Monday said that she will go to to Ayodhya but skip the ceremony due to health risks.
On Monday, the head priest of the Ram Janmabhoomi site in Ayodhya had gone into self-quarantine after one of his assistants tested positive for the coronavirus. Last month, the temple’s assistant priest, along with 16 police officers had tested positive for the infection.
Chief Minister Adityanath, who visited Ayodhya on Monday to review arrangements for the ceremony, said that strict coronavirus safety rules will be enforced in the city. “We have made all arrangements to ensure that there is no laxity on any count,” he was quoted as saying by ANI. “The main focus is on Covid-19. Only those who are invited should come here. All devotees want to come but the PM [prime minister] will represent all of them.”
The invitation cards for the ceremony are equipped with a security code, allowing entry only once and making the invite non-transferable, The Hindu reported.
The ceremony will go on till 2 pm. Modi will install a silver brick at the site where the temple is supposed to be built. The UP government will also release a postal stamp to commemorate the temple design.