BJP leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi will not go to Ayodhya for the ‘bhumi pujan’ of  the Ram temple, instead they are likely to attend the event via videoconferencing, according to reports.

The Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust has invited both the leaders  via phone calls on Saturday. The trust was set up by the Supreme Court to oversee the construction of the temple, after its verdict in November. The General Secretary of the trust also sent an invitation to the two veteran leaders, reported NDTV.

A Special CBI court hearing took place last week on the Babri mosque demolition case via video conferencing to record statements of nine accused, including former deputy prime minister LK Advani.

92-year-old leader has denied all charges, though he was asked over 100 questions during the hearing which lasted for four-and-a-half hours, according to his lawyer.

Apart from Advani, the list comprises the names of BJP veterans LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh; Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, Acharya Dharmendra Dev, RN Srivastava, Jai Bhagwan Goel, Amar Nath Goel and Sudhir Kakkad. These accused have to depose under section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

The case pertains to the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, after which two FIRs were lodged. One FIR was filed against the kar sevaks who allegedly demolished the mosque; another FIR named Advani, Joshi, Bharti, Singh, BJP Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Katiyar, Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Vishnu Hari Dalmiya and Sadhvi Rithambara, and others for “making provocative speeches” that instigated the kar sevaks.

Framed by a special CBI court in 2017, the investigation agency has charged BJP leaders Advani, Joshi, Bharti, Kalyan Singh and others of criminal conspiracy in the demolition case. The charges are based on the charge sheet filed by the CBI on October 8, 1993.

According to The Indian Express, the charge sheet alleges that Advani “vehemently asserted repeatedly” that the kar seva to be held at Ayodha on December 6, 1992, “would not mean only bhajan and kirtan, but would also involve construction of the Shri Ram temple.”

The Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust has invited PM Modi to lay the foundation stone of the temple.

Apart from PM Modi, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and Nritya Gopal Das, chief of Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas are also likely to attend the ceremony.

Last Saturday, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Aditynath had visited the Ram Janmabhoomi complex to review preparations for the August 5 event.

Meanwhile, a priest of Ram temple, who was part of the ‘bhoomi pujan’ ceremony,  tested positive for novel Coronavirus on July 30.

Acharya Pradeep Das is the assistant to the chief priest of the Ram Janmabhoomi temple.

Besides, 16 policemen on duty at Ayodhya had also tested positive for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust has appealed to followers of Lord Ram not to rush to Ayodhya for the ‘bhoomi pujan’ ceremony of Ram temple construction.

The trust has appealed to the followers to watch the ceremony on television and light a lamp in the evening to mark the occasion.

The trust said huge gatherings and participation in massive numbers would not be possible during the Corona pandemic.

The rituals for the ‘bhoomi pujan’ will begin on August 3 with a ‘Ganesh Gauri Puja’.

The trust has decided that the proposed Ram temple in Ayodhya would have a height of 161 feet along with five domes. The temple would be modelled on the basis of the design proposed by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad but its length, width, and height will be increased.

It would take around 3 and a half years to complete the construction of the temple.

The construction work has been delayed due to the Coronavirus-triggered lockdown and other issues.