Fund raising campaign for Ram Mandir Ayodhya

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Syed Ali Haisum Bukhari
The issue of Babri Mosque and Ram Mandir remained the prime focus of Hindutva ideology. Under the tremendous pressure of GoI and Hindu fanatic groups, the final judgment in the Ayodhya dispute was declared by the Supreme Court of India on 9 Nov 2019 as per the aspirations of the Hindus. The Court ordered the so called disputed land of 2.77 acre to be handed over to a trust to build the Ram Janmabhoomi (Birth place of Hindu Deitey – Ram). Consequent to the above “Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust” the entity responsible to oversee the construction work of Ram Mandir along with other Hindutva organizations like VHP started aggressively involved in fund raising campaign in various States of India. They are threatening companies and individuals including from minorities for dire consequences if not responding to their call. There are numbers of loop-holes and malpractices witnessed in the process, which falls in the category of money laundering and illegal fund raising, etc. These shady practices of Hindu extremists should have brought India under scrutiny of FATF regime and other intl monitoring org but the world bodies are astonishingly still silent for unknown reasons. Stoking the Ram Mandir fervor in the country, the “Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust” recently claimed to have collected a whopping more than INR 2100 crore (around USD 300 million) in just 44 days of its mass fund-raising campaign (“Samarpan Nidhi Abhiyan”), which was launched on 15 January 2021. The Hindutva bakhts are patting themselves on the back for having run a successful fund-raiser transcending the religious faulty lines in the country. The Trust’s Treasurer, Mr. Govind Gin, Mr Anil Mishra, Telangana unit of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Alok Kumar (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) and even actor Akshay Kumar are the main proponent of fund-raising blurring religious barrier. The self-praise fund-raising campaign of the Hindutva zealots is notwithstanding with the reality. Voluntary fund-raising exercise was marred by inter alia, lack of transparency, loose governmental oversight and coercion of non-Hindus (notable Muslims), who in most of the instances, contributed out of fear and intimidation. As this fund-raising was practically spearheaded by the right wing Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), hence it raised serious questions as to how, Indian govt monitor the Sangh Parivar, as it is in fact promoting cultural hyper nationalism in India with impunity. The possibility that chunk of the money collected in the name of Ram Mandir would be diverted towards VHP / Sangh Parivar’s extremist agenda, including Islamophobia, cannot be ruled out. I seek the attention of the UNO, IMF, World Bank, International Financing Monitoring Organization and World community to the fact that construction cost of the Ram Mandir has been estimated at INR 300-400 Crore and building the entire complex of 70 acre campus would require INR 1100 Crore whereas, initially fund collected in 44 days as claimed by Shri Ram Trust is INR 2100 Crore, so where the surplus money is going to be??, of course to the Sangh Parivar’s extremist groups. Besides, numbers of groups (4-5 individual) are collecting funds forcibly from the villagers and using it to their ulterior motive of Hindutva ideology – Hindustan is for Hindu. Therefore, the fund raising campaign is in fact a blessing in disguise for promoting Hinduism and targeting minorities. Timely intervention of the international bodies is the need of the hour, otherwise will yield historical human rights violations in India. historical human rights violations in India.

(-Author: Syed Ali Haisum Bukhari is student of Defense and Strategic Studies at Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad. A research fellow at Pakistan House think tank a nd Muslim Institute. For feedback email at alihaisum. [email protected])