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A Dalit laid first brick for Ram Mandir. Now, Modi must appoint a Dalit woman as its priest

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13.11.2019

This cannot be the dream ending of the Ram Mandir movement for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who as a young RSS/BJP karyakarta took part in it during the first few years.

Though he hailed the Supreme Court decision, the whole process of Ayodhya closure lacks Modi’s signature touch. The credit goes to the court.

Speaking to the BBC, former VHP leader Praveen Togadia lamented that if the temple had to be constructed by a court decree then why did so many people die in the process.

But all is not lost. Modi can still bring his unique stamp to how the Ayodhya solution is implemented. If he truly wants to unroll his sabka saath sabka vikaas mission, then Ayodhya is a good test case. He should appoint a Dalit woman as the head priest of the grand new Ram Mandir. And I can suggest a Dalit Sanskrit scholar who is perfect for the job.

Appointing a Dalit woman priest will be the right tribute to a movement that saw a Dalit kar sevak from Bihar, Kameshwar Chaupal, laying the first brick for the shilanyas of the proposed Ram Mandir.

It was no coincidence, but a deliberate, well thought-out move by the RSS-VHP. Among the rabble-rousing leaders of the Ram Mandir movement, the most aggressive role was played by those from the lower castes, like Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiyar and Sadhwi Ritambhara.

Now, appointing a Dalit woman as the head priest of the Ram Mandir would be a fitting finale to the politics that began in the Mandal-Kamandal era. Especially, if the move is initiated by Modi, a leader who washed the feet of Dalit sanitation workers.

As the Ram Rath Yatra coincided with the implementation of the Second Backward Classes Commission report, popularly known as the........

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