Invitations for the consecration ceremony (pran pratishtha) of the Ram Mandir, being constructed at the site where the Babri Masjid was demolished, have been sent by the Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra trust to nearly 8,000 individuals, including industrialists, actors, sportspersons, and other prominent figures.
The list of invitees to the event, which is scheduled for January 22, 2024, includes magnates like Gautam Adani, Mukesh Ambani, Ratan Tata, and celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli.
Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) sources said that they have also invited journalists who helped in making “the Ram temple a reality.” Notable names among them are Sudhir Choudhary, Rajat Sharma, Arnab Goswami, Shweta Singh, Dainik Bhaskar MD Sudhir Agarwal, Jagran Prakashan CEO Sanjay Gupta and non-executive chairman Mahendra Mohan Gupta, besides India Today editor-in-chief Aroon Purie.
“We have invited journalists who have supported us through our journey. We have invited them formally to attend the event and take darshan as without them this struggle for Ram mandir was incomplete,” an anonymous VHP worker told The Print.
Additionally, invites have been sent via post and WhatsApp to saints, priests, religious leaders and VVIPs including former civil servants, retired Army officers, lawyers, scientists, poets, musicians and Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan recipients.
Around 6,000 of the total 8,000 invitees will be religious leaders from across the country, said a senior VHP functionary.
The VHP has extended invitations to the families of around 50 karsevaks who lost their lives in police firing in 1990 while taking part in the campaign that led to the demolition of Babri Masjid.
“How can we forget the sacrifice of our karsevaks who gave their lives for the temple? We have invited their families to take part in the pran pratistha,” a VHP worker told The Print.
It is said that a link will be shared with the invitees a few days before the ceremony. Once they register using the link, a bar code will be generated that will then serve as their entry pass.
A fund of Rs. 57,000 crores has been allotted to transform Ayodhya city into a ‘religious tourism destination’. 15 big encampments with white cottage tents, wooden reclining chairs, air conditioners, sofas and LED TVs to host around 1 lakh people are being prepared ahead of the consecration and a set of other events including the grand inauguration to follow.
The authorities have also arranged buses and golf carts to take visitors to the temple, and built a three-storey car parking facility and 2,000 new public toilets.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will be the prime attendants of the function.
The temple stands where the Babri Masjid, which was torn down by a mob of Hindu nationalists on December 6, 1992, earlier stood.
The construction began after the Supreme Court of India on 09 November 2019 ordered the entire land to be allocated for the temple, granting amnesty to the perpetrators of the demolition.