The Indian government on Thursday said that it was keen on building a Ramayana museum at Ayodhya but will do so away from the disputed Babari Masjid/Ram Janama Bhumi dispute site. Union tourism minister Mahesh Sharma said that the process for identifying the land for building the museum has begun already.
“We are not going to construct this site (museum) in the disputed site, but away from it. There is land available at 70 km. So, we will not touch the disputed area. Definitely, we will not come into controversy. We will keep away from the controversy,” he told reporters adding “Wherever the land will be easily available, either by the government or by the private properties or by any act of donation, we love to construct this museum there.”
Sharma took pains to explain that the Ram temple and the Ram museum were two different projects. “The construction of Ram Mandir is a project of Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Ram Janma Bhoomi Samiti. They are doing their job. But, as a tourism minister, I am doing this (museum) on behalf of my ministry in Ayodhya,” he said.
The museum will be constructed as part of the Ramayana circuit as declared by the government recently. Sites and Nepal and Sri Lanka too could form a part of this circuit with the Indian Government writing to the two countries in this regard.
“We are planning for Krishna circuit and Buddha circuit in Ayodhya. Similarly, we are also planning for Ramayana circuit. About Rs 120 crore has been earmarked for establishing the Ramayana circuit for which we are also contacting Nepal, Sri Lanka,” said Sharma.
Musafir Namah Bureau, PTI