New Delhi,Raqib Hameed Naik: What could be more embarrassing for a country than when its Prime Minister calls a person notorious for courting controversy with his provocative statements and anti-Muslim stand as ‘an inspiration for generations’?
This is what PM Modi tweeted when Ashok Singhal, the senior Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader who played a key role in the mass campaign that led to the razing of the Babri Mosque in 1992, passed away in a Gurgaon-based hospital on Tuesday after suffering from a month-long respiratory problem.
A strong votary of Hindutva, Agra-born Singhal joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1942 and was deputed to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in 1980.
Singhal rose to prominence after he adopted an aggressive style in the “kar sewak” campaign in the Ram Janambhoomi movement in the late eighties which led to demolition of Babri Mosque in December 1992.
An engineering graduate from Banaras Hindu University, he was first deputed in VHP as Joint general secretary in 1980s later General Secretary and the President.
Singhal, with his proactive statements against Muslims, remained an epitome of disturbing peace and tranquility in the country by flaring up religious sentiments of the people.
Singhal, who had been the president of VHP for over 20 years said after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections which led BJP to power in the centre, “ [the] tables have turned against Muslims” adding that “if [Muslims] keep opposing Hindus, how long can they survive?”
In February, 2013, while interacting with the media ahead of his meeting with VHP-associated saints, Singhal had said that: “Freedom of the Muslims to do multiple marriages and have lots of kids has to be curbed. The decision in the matter of the Ram Janmabhoomi cannot be left in the hands of the Court anymore and the Parliament soon has to come on a decision on this issue.”
In December, 2013, months before BJP came to power, while addressing a press conference in Kolkata he had said that they will build the Ram temple at Ayodhya if the BJP comes to power in Lok Sabha elections.
In February 2014, Ashok Singhal had remarked that Hindus must bear five children in order to revive community’s declining population in the country. He remarked that they must do so in order to “revive community’s declining population in the country as Muslims and Christians are outdoing our numbers by converting Hindus and by marrying the religion’s girls.”
In November, 2014, months after BJP came to power in centre, while addressing the inaugural session of the three-day World Hindu Congress in Delhi, he had declared Hindu rule in Delhi when he compared Narendra Modi’s rise to power with the rule of Prithviraj Chauhan.
“Eight hundred years after it (power in Delhi) went away from Prithviraj Chauhan, it did not come back into the hands of a proud Hindu. It has happened after 800 years,” Singhal had then said in the conference.
In June 2015, he had courted another controversy declaring that India will be a Hindu nation by 2020 and entire world by 2030 following the BJP’s victory in the 2014 polls. Again in the same month, he brought Ayodhya issue to lime light by saying that there can be no communal harmony unless Muslims forgo their claim on Ayodhya, Mathura and Kashi, where there are temple-mosque disputes.