After Ayodhya, Subramanian Swamy shifts focus to Kashi, Mathura disputes

Swamy declared the Central government should acquire the land needed for a temple

Swamy singhal pti Subramanian Swamy (right) with Murli Manohar Joshi at the Ashok Singhal memorial lecture | PTI

BJP Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy on Sunday told a gathering in Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad) that people had started asking what action would the government take with respect to the temple disputes in Kashi and Mathura after the Supreme Court's Ayodhya verdict.

Swamy was speaking at a lecture in honour of late VHP leader Ashok Singhal at the Moti Lal Nehru Medical College in Prayagraj. Swamy declared the Central government should acquire the land needed to build a temple in Mathura as a "national property". Swamy claimed a proper atmosphere needed to be created for this.

Swamy declared Hindus would be ready to "forget" about demolition of scores of temples by Muslim invaders if shrines were constructed at Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura.

On November 29, Swamy wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking an amendment to the Places of Worship Act, 1991, which provides for maintaining the "religious character" of holy structures as it existed on August 15, 1947. The legislation was passed in 1991 by then prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao of the Congress in the wake of the demand for a Ram temple in Ayodhya.

Swamy urged Modi to give directions to the ministry of law to make amendments to the Places of Worship Act, specifically section 4 of the act, which he claimed was "offensive and ultra vires of my fundamental rights" to freedom of worship.

"This act was enacted by the Congress government headed by Mr Narasimha Rao," Swamy said in his letter. "Fundamental Rights cannot be amended or modified by the Parliament or by any law passed by the Parliament. It cannot have the overriding effect of extinguishing my fundamental right of freedom of worship under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution. Hence, the ministry of law should bring an amendment to this act," Swamy said in the letter.

The Supreme Court had cited the Places of Worship Act after delivering the Ayodhya verdict on November 9 to emphasis that it won't entertain petitions demanding change in status of a place of worship. In its Ayodhya verdict, the Supreme Court noted the Places of Worship Act “imposes a non-derogable obligation towards enforcing our commitment to secularism”.

Swamy had previously sought nationalisation of land at the Gyaanvapi mosque in Kashi and Krishna Janmastaan in Mathura. Last week, Swamy claimed he did not want to stoke a fire, but declared it was his faith that the temples in Kashi and Mathura be "reclaimed".

Swamy had begun making statements in favour of building temples in Kashi and Mathura soon after the Ayodhya verdict. He even tweeted about an old topic he's frequently brought up: The Hindu origins of the Taj Mahal!