Ever since the Ram Janma Bhoomi judgement by the Supreme Court of India, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) `led governments across the country have been celebrating saying that they delivered their promise in the manifesto to construct Ram Mandir. Now, it is all about the construction of Ram Mandir. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the parent body of the BJP is playing a crucial role in the collection of funds to construct a grand temple.
Incidents of violence and hate campaigns against those who are not donating to the RSS members collecting these funds are being reported. The former Chief Minister of Karnataka and the leader of the Janata Dal (Secular), H D Kumaraswamy tweeted on February 15, 2021, arguing that the RSS members collecting funds have been marking the homes of those who were refusing to make donations. In his tweet, he raised a concern about this development and has called it a dangerous development.
In his tweet Mr. Kumaraswamy said, ‘I am informed about the marking of the houses to recognise the ones who are refusing to pay for the construction of Ram mandir. This is concerning.’ He also noted that a similar development was witnessed in Nazi Germany with respect to the Jews. In this tweet, he also shared his concern about the path in which the country is taking.
Ram Janmabhoomi Tirath Kshetra Nyas (RJTKN) Trust, is a trust set up for the construction and management of temples. The trust is aided by organisations like the RSS, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the BJP. The donation drive was started by the trust on January 14, 2021, and is supposed to conclude on February 27, 2021. This donation drive aims in covering every household in a state. The karyakartas of the Sangh Parivar are assigned to undertake a door to door campaign- in which, the household making donations are provided with coupons of the amount that is being donated and stickers are stuck on the doors of these households. These karyakartas also are to educate the households about the Ram Mandir movement and provide them with some literature. However, as reports have been suggesting this collection drive has not been this straightforward and simple.
Within the few days of its beginning, the donation drive was surrounded by several controversies. To begin with, there were reports about a fraudulent collection of funds. There also were reports suggesting the mismanagement of these funds. Equally concerning reports are those of the violence perpetrated by the Sangh Parivar Karyakartas on those who refused to donate and the communal violence that the donation drive gave rise to in many states. The donation drive is following in the footsteps of the Rath Yatra started by L K Advani in 1990 which had instigated communal sentiments regarding the construction of the Ram Mandir. As a report by Aarefa Johari published in scroll.in shows, the collectors are identifying the houses that are donating and those that are not. The question that Kumaraswamy raised in his tweet is a crucial one. Why are the households being marked? Why this identification?
It is a crucial question to be dealt with because of the communal history of the entire Ram Janma Bhoomi movement and this donation drive is carried out by the Sangh Parivar which is the protagonist of this communal history. This is the movement that was responsible for the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in whose place this Ram Mandir is to be built. The demolition of the Mosque had resulted in communal clashes across the country. This marking of the houses with stickers is concerning because of this history of the donation drive.