Indian radicals warn against equality

An influential radical Hindu group close to India's ruling Bharatiya Janata party has urged the prime minister against attempts to woo the Muslim vote in upcoming polls.

    Radicals not pleased with PM's promise of religious equality

    Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), the World Hindu Council, warned the government on Wednesday not to make the mistake of affording similar treatment to Hindus and Muslims.

    VHP leader Acharya Giriraj Kishore told the Press Trust of India: "We do not endorse … [ruling party] BJP treating Hindus and Muslims as equals."

    Kishore was referring to remarks made by India's PM at Maharajganj on Monday.

    Atal Behari Vajpayee had appealed to Muslims to vote for the BJP, saying it would never discriminate on the grounds of religion.

    VHP campaign

    The VHP has been spearheading a campaign by radical Hindus to build a temple for warrior god Ram at the site of a mosque in northern India.

    The Babri mosque was razed to the ground by extremists in 1992, an act that sparked nationwide riots.
    Kishore said he was unaware of any initiative by the federal government to build the temple despite a pledge by Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani to go ahead with the construction in a peaceful manner after polls.
    "VHP will continue to create awareness among the people for the construction of the temple in Ayodhya," he added.
    VHP's support is crucial for the ruling BJP in the April-May national polls.

    The group has a nationwide network of workers in most Indian towns and villages who can campaign from house to house.



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