Muslim organisations reacted sharply to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's strong pitch for building a Ram Temple on the disputed site at Ayodhya, terming it as a direct challenge to the apex court before which the matter wass pending, and demanded action against him.
They also alleged that the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) chief was trying to help the BJP in the upcoming Gujarat elections by diverting the attention of voters from "real" issues with such statements.
"The All India Muslim Personal Law Board has faith in the judiciary and will try to implement its order... by issuing this statement Mohan Bhagwat has taken law into his hands," the spokesman of the AIMPLB, Maulana Khaild Saifullah Rehmani, said.
He demanded that the government take action against "such people who are openly showing disrespect to the courts and taking law into their hands".
Bhagwat has issued "a one-sided statement that only a temple will be constructed at the site and this is unacceptable to us", Rehmani said, adding this amounts to showing disrespect to the court.
The convenor of Babri Masjid Action Committee and member of the Board, Zafaryab Jilani, alleged that such remarks "challenging" the apex court are a threat to democracy.
Jilani, who is also a senior counsel, said that it appears that Bhagwat has tried to help the BJP in the Gujarat Assembly elections through his statement.
"Bhagwat has given an open challenge to the Supreme Court .... As per the Constitution, the apex court is supreme and its orders have to be implemented in the country ...it has asked for maintaining status quo on the site ...through this statement Bhagwat has given a direct challenge to the Supreme Court and this is also a threat for democracy," he said.
The spokesman of All India Shia Personal Law Board, Maulana Yasoob Abbas, said "Sangh chief is not above the Supreme Court, he will also have to accept the court verdict".
"Despite the issue pending in the court, Mohan Bhagwat has given this statement only to divert the attention of voters in Gujarat from real issues," Abbas said.
Addressing the "Dharma Sansad", a congregation of 2,000 Hindu sages, mutt heads and VHP leaders from across the country in Udipi earlier today, Bhagwat said there should be no ambiguity that Ram Temple will be built at Ayodhya.
"We will construct it. It is not a populist declaration but a matter of our faith. It will not change," Bhagwat said.
The RSS chief said that after years of efforts and sacrifice, building the Ram temple seemed possible now, while also noting that the matter was in the court.
"Ram Mandir only will be constructed and nothing else. It will be constructed there only," Bhagwat said.
He said the temple would be constructed in the same grandeur as it existed before, using the "same stones" under the guidance of those who were the flag-bearers of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement for the last 25 years.
The Supreme Court will on December 5 commence the final hearing on the cross-appeals filed against the 2010 judgement of the Allahabad High Court in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute.
The high court had ruled a three-way division of the disputed 2.77 acre area at Ayodhya among the parties -- the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and the Ram Lalla.