Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday, announced that Faizabad district would henceforth be known as Ayodhya district, after demands for early construction of a Ram temple at the disputed Ayodhya site by the Sangh Parivar following the 2019 Lok Sabha elections grew.
The disputed land’s issues revolve around access to a site traditionally regarded among Hindus to be the birthplace of the Hindu deity Rama, the history and location of the Babri Mosque at the site, and whether a previous Hindu temple was demolished or modified to create the mosque.
The Supreme Court of India had ordered listing of appeals against the Allahabad High Court order in the Ayodhya title suit before an “appropriate bench” in the first week of January 2019 to fix a date for hearing.
Adityanath also stated that Ayodhya would have its own airport named after Ram and a medical college named after Ram’s father King Dashrath.
People in the crowd welcomed the announcements and raised slogans of “Yogiji ek kaam karo, Mandir ka nirman karo (Yogi, do one job: build the temple)”.
“Ayodhya is a symbol of our honour, pride and prestige. Nobody can do injustice to Ayodhya,” Adityanath said at the Deepotsav celebrations in Ayodhya which was also attended by South Korean First Lady Kim Jung-sook, UP Governor Ram Naik, Bihar Governor Lalji Tandon and Minister of State (External Affairs) V K Singh.
“We have preserved these memories so that no one can snatch Lord Ram from your memories. But we should not limit our gods to just slogans,” he said.
The Chief Minister and the South Korean First Lady laid the foundation stone for a memorial to Queen Heo Hwang-ok who, according to a Korean legend, was an Ayodhya princess who married King Suro of Geumgwan Gaya. The memorial will be built over an area of 10,000 sq m.
“Those who divert from their past are like Trishanku. We are here in Ayodhya to connect with our history. Delegates from Korea are here to connect with their past. Korea is witness that Ayodhya’s recognition should be only in the form of Ayodhya… I want to tell you all, from today this district’s name will be known as Ayodhya,” Adityanath said.
He said Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi had started a bus service from Janakpur in Nepal to Ayodhya and this time, “on the occasion of the wedding of Ram and Janaki”, he would himself go to Janakpur.
Kim Jung-sook thanked Modi for the welcome and congratulated the Chief Minister for the Deepotsav.
“This July when I came with the South Korean President, Prime Minister Modi welcomed me with great zeal. This time, even after being busy in administrative work, he made time and met me. I am thankful to him. I also thank India’s First Lady Savita Kovind and Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj for helping me with my India visit. This is the start of a new era for India-Korea relations,” she said.