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Ram temple was not issue of conflict between Hindus, Muslims at time of independence: Rajnath

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New Delhi, Jan 18 (PTI) Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said the Ram temple was not an issue of conflict between Hindus and Muslims at the time of independence and every community has supported the 'Ram Janmabhoomi Andolan' in some way.

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Asserting that one cannot imagine India without Ram, Singh said the grand temple being built in Ayodhya is a symbol of "restoration" of Indian culture.

The minister was speaking at the launch of a book -- "Rom Rom Mein Ram". The book is a compilation of essays written by the late senior journalist and MP Ashwini Chopra and others.

Singh said the Ram temple is being constructed after a wait of 500 years.

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"The new Ram temple being built in Ayodhya is a symbol of restoration of Indian culture. One cannot imagine India without Ram," he said.

"Ayodhya will be a symbol of a new India which will give India the ability to lead the world once again. Ayodhya will become an inspiration for the rest of the world," he said.

Singh said the Ram temple was not an issue of conflict between Hindus and Muslims at the time of independence.

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"Twelve Muslims had given an affidavit and supported the Ram temple at that time... It was not a matter of conflict between Hindus and Muslims, it was a matter linked with the faith of Hindus," he said.

The first FIR related to the Ram temple was registered against a group of Sikhs, he said.

"Every community has supported the Ram Janmabhoomi Andolan in some way. In the 80s and 90s, some parties opposed it for vote bank politics and that continues," he added.

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When Prime Minister Narendra Modi talks of 'garib kalyan' (welfare of the poor), the thought is inspired by Lord Ram, the defence minister said.

He also praised Modi for starting a special 11-day religious exercise preceding the January 22 consecration ceremony at the Ram temple.

"Modi ji has been doing an 11-day-long sadhana... I could have never imagined someone in politics can also be a 'sadhak'," he said.

In an audio message on January 12, Modi had said scriptures lay down strict and arduous guidelines for people to follow for 'Pran Pratishtha'.

He said was starting the special exercise going by the guidelines he had received from eminent people on the spiritual journey. PTI AO DIV DIV

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