India Today published an article on Tuesday with a misleading headline which claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party had opposed an ordinance brought by the Congress party in 1993 that sought the construction of the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya.
The headline of the article fails to mention that the ordinance was not for the construction of the Ram Mandir alone, but also for a mosque at Ayodhya. While tabling a Bill to replace the Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Ordinance in 1993, Chavan said, “As it is necessary to maintain communal harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst the people of India, it was considered necessary to acquire the site of the disputed structure and suitable adjacent land for setting up a complex which could be developed in a planned manner wherein a Ram temple, a mosque, amenities for pilgrims, a library, museum and other suitable facilities can be set up.” The headline conveniently ignores the fact that the purpose of the ordinance was not a Ram Mandir but maintaining communal harmony.
The Act was opposed by both Muslims and Hindus. The Muslim Law Board called it “un-Islamic” while BJP Vice-President S.S. Bhandari called it “partisan, petty and perverse”. Under such circumstances, the insinuation made by the article in India Today that the BJP had opposed the ordinance for a Ram Mandir at Ayodhya is quite clearly a misrepresentation of facts.
The ordinance clearly sought a mosque at the disputed site or somewhere adjacent to it which is unacceptable to a large section of Hindus. The fact of the matter is the ordinance called for a Temple and a Mosque at Ayodhya for communal harmony, a proposed settlement which satisfied neither party and was opposed by both.