Former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Wednesday alleged that he was threatened to contribute for the Ram temple in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya, reported NDTV. This came two days after the Janata Dal (Secular) leader raised concern about the way donations were being collected for the shrine.
“I am also a victim,” Kumaraswamy said while speaking to the media on Wednesday. “Three persons came to my house. They threatened...please hand over money. They asked, “why are you not donating?””
The Janata Dal (Secular) leader questioned the transparency in the process of collecting the donations. “Who is giving the information?” he asked, according to The Telegraph. “Several street people are collecting donations by threatening many. I request VHP [Vishwa Hindu Parishad] people to be transparent.”
On Monday, the politician had drawn parallels between the actions of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological mentor of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, to the Nazis. He said RSS members were marking houses of those who made donations for the Ram Temple in the same manner in which the Hitler regime identified Jews in concentration camps.
When asked about his comments from Monday on houses being marked, Kumaraswamy told NDTV that the people collecting the money were showing “a sticker”. “Why are they putting that sticker on the houses? They can print a big sticker on the street or wall. Why put them on houses?”
Kumaraswamy also said that historians had pointed out links between Nazis and the RSS. “Several historians have mentioned Nazis and RSS activities. I was not born then, I don’t know anything,” he said. “I know what RSS has done. They are not the saviours of this country. They are misusing Ram’s name for political benefits. We are not misusing God’s name.”
The RSS’ Media In-charge ES Pradeep had on Tuesday refused to comment on Kumaraswamy’s allegations.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that Shiv Sena workers should make people aware about “fraudulent elements” who are collecting donations in the name of Ram, reported PTI.
“Some people are collecting money in Lord Ram’s name,” he said without naming anyone. “Shiv Sena workers should make people aware of such fraudulent elements. When common people face problems, they turn to the Sena.”
While Hindutva organisations insist they are merely soliciting voluntary contributions, several people have alleged they have been intimidated into paying up. As Scroll.in reported earlier, the Hindutva workers have also come up with a marking system in which they leave behind stickers on doors of houses to identify families that made donations.
The Ram temple is coming up at the site where the Babri Masjid was demolished in 1992 by Hindutva extremists who were mobilised under the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Ram Janmabhoomi movement. In November 2019, the Supreme Court in a landmark judgement held the demolition was illegal but handed over the land to government-run trust for the construction of a Ram temple. In August 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the temple.