Lucknow: While the political parties opposed to BJP are doing all they can to taint their rival as intolerant, Utar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has sacked one his minister on Friday for voicing support to the construction of Ram Mandir.
68-year-old Ompal Nehra, who was appointed as advisor to Uttar Pradesh Entertainment Tax Department with status of a minister just two months back, has said that the Muslims should voluntarily forgo their claim on Ayodhya and Mathura and should instead help building the Ram temple.
Nehra had given this statement during an official program of Agriculture Department to mark Kisan Diwas on December 23 i.e. the birth anniversary of Chaudhary Charan Singh in Bijnore District of Uttar Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh Government was celebrating the day as Kisan Diwas.
“Chief Minister gave me the minister status two months back and took it back today. It is his decision but I stand by my statement and feel that I have not said anything wrong” Nehra told The Indian Express after being informed about his removal.
Clarifying his statement, Nehra said, “The dispute over construction of temple could not be solved through mutual understanding, even court procedure is becoming lengthy so I suggested this third option. BJP has been making it a political issue since 1992 and try to take benefit of it before every election, so for the benefit of the country and its people, I said that instead of fighting it out, secular and intellectual Muslims should come forward and support construction of temple in Ayodhya as well as Mathura”
Nehra further said, “I even suggested that our muslim brothers can be given place for mosque to offer Namaz at a distance of about 2-3 km so that they are not disturbed by the loud sound of rituals that are performed in the temple and Hindus can come forward to support the construction of the mosque instead,”
In 1991 Lok Sabha elections, Nehra had unsuccessfully contested against Ajit Singh from Baghpat Parliamentary Constituency as Samajwadi Janta Party candidate. His statement comes at a time when Vishwa Hindu Parisad movement to bring stones to Ayodhya for construction of temple at the disputed site is going on.
Confirming the decision of the Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to remove Nehra from his charge of advisor, Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan said, “Chief Minister has ordered removal of Nehra, so all the concerned officers have been informed. No official reason has been cited for his removal.”