India’s Vice President Venkaiah Naidu has hailed former Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) chief late Ashok Singhal, who played a key role in the demolition of Babri Masjid and was chargesheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation, as one of “finest proponents of Hinduism.”
The BJP leader while speaking at the release of a book–“Ashok Singhal: Staunch and Perseverant Exponent of Hindutva”– said the late VHP chief had “sacrificed” 75 years of his life for the benefit of future generations.
Naidu added that Singhal was “an exemplary individual who selflessly dedicated himself as a (RSS) pracharak and served the society”.
He also advocated the chanting of ‘Vande Mataram’ and said Hinduism is “our culture, our tradition”, which has been passed on from generations. Questioning the objections to the salutation ‘Vande Matarm’, Naidu said: “If not the mother, who will you salute? Afzal Guru?”
“I want to tell people Bharat Mata ki Jai is not just about one photo, it is about all 125 crore people living in this country irrespective of their caste, colour, creed and religion. They all are Indians,” he said.
Referring to Hinduism, Naidu cited the Supreme Court’s 1995 verdict, which said Hinduism is not a narrow concept but a broader cultural connotation of India. “Hinduism is our culture our tradition which has been passed on from various generations. There could be different ways of worship, but there is only one way of life that in Hinduism,” he said.
RSS general secretary Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi who was also present, said, Singhal worked hard to realise the dream of building Ram Temple, and his dream should not be forgotten.
Speaking at the same event, RSS general secretary Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi said Singhal worked hard to realise the dream of building a Ram Temple in Ayodhya. “Now he might have gone but we should not forget his goal,” Joshi added.
According to a report in Livement.com, Singhal was “one of the most important public figures from the Sangh Parivar—a man who shot into the limelight in the 1980s on the back of the Ayodhya movement.”
“Singhal launched the Ram Janaki Rath Yatra in 1984 and demanded that locks be opened up at the Babri Masjid gates. Considered close to both L.K. Advani and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, he was present in Ayodhya on 6 December. He was disenchanted with Vajpayee after the National Democratic Alliance government under him put the Ram Janmabhoomi issue on the back burner post 1998.”