The 15-member Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust will oversee construction of a Ram temple at Ayodhya
Two Babri masjid demolition accused, Nritya Gopal Das and Champat Rai, have been appointed as president and general secretary of the Ram Mandir Trust, respectively, at its first meeting held at the Delhi residence of senior lawyer and Trust Head K Parasaran on February 19.
Mahant Kamal Nayan Das, a senior member of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, a Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) affiliate, told The Quint that the Home Ministry assured them that Das and Rai would be part of the Trust.
Both Das and Rai were not on the initial list, he told the Quint, adding: "We were told by local MLAs and the Home Ministry that the reason their names were not added was because both of them are accused in the ongoing trial of the Babri Masjid demolition case. The government feared a legal challenge."
The Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust to oversee construction of a Ram temple at Ayodhya consists of 15-members which include seven members, five nominated members and three trustees.
Formation of the Trust was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 5, in adherence to the November 2019 Supreme Court verdict on the Ayodhya land dispute.
Other members include Jagatguru Shankracharya, Jyothishpeethadheeshwar Swami Vasudevanand Saraswati Ji Maharaj from Allahabad, Jagatguru Madhavacharya Swami Vishwa Prasannatheerth Ji Maharaj, Pejawar Math in Udupi, Yugpurush Paramanand Ji Maharaj from Haridwar, Swami Govinddev Giri Ji Maharaj from Pune and Vimlendra Mohan Pratap Mishra from Ayodhya.
Das and Rai were accused in the State vs Pawan Pandey Babri Masjid demolition case which was clubbed with the state vs LK Advani case (dealing with allegations of a larger criminal conspiracy), and are currently out on bail, as per The Quint.
They are accused under Sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 395 (dacoity), 397 (Robbery, or dacoity, with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house) 153 A (promoting hate and enmity on grounds of religion) and 153 B (assertions prejudicial to national integration) of the Indian Penal Code, advocate Muhammad Mazaharul Haq told the publication.(With inputs from PTI)