Sri Sri’s Attempt to Mediate Ram Temple Talks Met with Scepticism 

Sri Sri met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow on 15 November

Updated
India
4 min read
File image of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar arrived in Ayodhya on 16 November to meet all the concerned ‘stakeholders’ in the Ram Temple dispute. He claimed to have received "very good and positive signs" from both the communities, reported PTI.

However, certain stakeholders in the case and even some politicians were not very positive about Sri Sri’s mediation. UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who had met with the former on Wednesday, offered his apprehensions regarding the godman’s mediation.

The Supreme Court is going to hear the matter on a day-to-day basis from 5 December. Everyone knows where the talks would lead... Had the solution (to the dispute) been possible, it would have been reached earlier.
Yogi Adityanath, CM of Uttar Pradesh told PTI.

Ahead of the visit, former BJP MP Ram Vilas Vedanti had also questioned the self-styled godman’s attempts to be a mediator in the Ram Temple dispute.

Who is Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to mediate? He should continue running his NGO and hoarding foreign funds, I believe he has amassed a lot of wealth and to avoid a probe he has jumped into the Ram Temple issue.
Ram Vilas Vedanti to ANI

Sri Sri Sees ‘Positive Vibes’ in Ayodhya

However, Sri Sri seemed to expect the objection to his mediation.

“I am not here to give a solution to this issue... I want people to come together and find a solution ... and I found very positive response from both communities,” he told PTI.

Some people are opposing my move as they have no hope that this dispute may be solved through negotiated settlement. But there are a lot of people who believe that a peaceful solution of the Ayodhya issue may came only through talks

He added that this was a sensitive issue which could be resolved through talks, only if people from both communities had patience, cooperated with one another and gave each other time.

Sri Sri-Yogi Meet

Sri Sri had met Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow on 15 November. It was a "courtesy meeting" that lasted about 15-20 minutes. As mentioned earlier, Adityanath had his reservations regarding Sri Sri’s mediation. But he did add that the godman was free to initiate talks, considering the government could not take an initiative in this regard as the matter is before the Supreme Court.

Even after this, if someone initiates talks there is no harm. The government is not a party to this. In my first visit to Ayodhya, I had said that if both the parties reach consensus on the issue, the government could consider. The government cannot take an initiative in this regard as the matter is before the Supreme Court.
Yogi Adityanath

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad had meanwhile expressed its reservations over the mediation efforts launched by Sri Sri. VHP Joint General Secretary Surendra Jain had told IANS that the issue of constructing a grand Ram temple at Ayodhya could never be resolved through talks.

A way out cannot be found through talks. We doubt his (Sri Sri’s) efforts will succeed.

This sentiment seemed to be echoed by several Hindu priests, with Mahant Gyan Das, the chief priest of Hanumangarhi temple, refusing to even meet with Sri Sri, who he says is "fooling the public in the name of negotiations".

Mahant Raju Das, a priest of another temple claimed that Sri Sri was aiming to take credit for finding a ‘peaceful solution’, as according to him, the Ayodhya issue was already very near to a peaceful solution.

Several others called this a ‘political stunt’ and said that Sri Sri was holding talks with parties who weren’t even involved with the case in any way.

To these further allegations, Sri Sri responded by saying: “If the court gives any verdict and if any one community feels left out... and even if the mandir or whatever is built there... after 50 or 100 years the problem might come back again... so the best thing is these two communities come together and then this problem will be resolved.”

The Art of Living founder had announced earlier in the week that he would be actively involved as a mediator in the Ram temple dispute, and would visit Ayodhya on 16 November to meet all the stakeholders.

Meanwhile, a Times Now report said that Home Minister Rajnath Singh met Muslim clerics in Delhi to discuss the dispute and reach an amicable conclusion.

The opposition has dubbed Sri Si a "government agent", despite the former saying that he was involved in as a mediator "out of his own will".

Last month, Sri Sri met the Shia Waqf board Chief Wasim Rizvi in Bengalauru to discuss the issue. Rizvi later described the meeting to have been 'very positive'.

On 14 November, Adityanath kickstarted the campaign for urban local bodies polls from Ayodhya. He said "Ayodhya" means a place where there is no possibility of a "yudh" (fight).

"I am starting the campaign in Ayodhya with the aim that the results in all the local bodies are in favour of the BJP, so that development that was obstructed during the SP and BSP governments can be carried out in the state."

(With inputs from PTI)

(This is a developing story and will be updated)

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