Jammu poet says Ram mandir donation drive left family scarred

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Aseem Sundan, a Jammu-based poet and writer, has alleged that a group of people visited his house in Jammu to collect the donation for Ram Mandir but ended up misbehaving with his father.

Sundan wrote a series of tweets on 8 February in which he detailed the incident which he described as an “extortion”.

“These saffron clad people came to my home and my dad being himself asked these extortionists for their details when they stepped inside my house, to which they harshly said they were Karsevaks, while asking my dad his name, gotra etc,” he tweeted. Sundan has turned his Twitter handle private after facing massive trolling for his tweet.

A screengrab of the Twitter thread in which Aseem had written about the incident.

The poet confirmed the incident to The Kashmir Walla over the phone call. He said that his father enquired about their details to confirm their authentication. “My father has a habit of double checking things. He just asked them about the authenticity of their operation to which they reacted rudely,” said Sundan.

In November 2019, the Supreme Court delivered a landmark judgment in the Ayodhya land dispute case. The judgment was ruled in favour of the Ram Janmabhoomi and read that there will be Ram Mandir at the disputed site and Muslims will be given an alternate five-acre land for their mosque.

Sundan lives in Delhi but had come to meet his parents in Jammu and was present there when the incident took place.

Congress Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) in Kerala had earlier this week alleged that he was cheated to donate for Ram Mandir. In January Surat police arrested a man fraudulently collecting donations for the same.

According to Sundan, when the same group of people started behaving aggressively, his father took out a note of 200 rupees “to get rid of them”. “They refused to take it and said they don’t even have a receipt for less than 1000 rupees, and people were donating lakhs, trying to shame him,” said Sundan.

The incident happened earlier this month and after getting into a brief argument, trying to get more money, the group left Sundan’s house without taking any as he kept enquiring about their identities. “When they left, one of them asked his mate to note the house number and after doing so, they said it’s fine, we shall see,” said Sundan.

“They seem to disrespect everyone’s private space, they lack humility and they are aggressive,” he said. “The moment when you show even slight unwillingness they start to speak in a loud manner, trying to make a scene out of it.”

Sundan said that it seems like it’s not really a donation drive. “I don’t understand what is wrong for them to show if it is a legitimate drive.”

The construction of the grand temple of Lord Ram in Ayodhya is estimated to cost around Rs 1,100 crore, of which around Rs 300-400 crore will be the cost of building the main temple structure.

Sundan has never witnessed this kind of incident in Jammu before and calls it a “new age thing that they encountered”.

He said that there is a sense of fear at his home. “My father was trying to show everything is alright but it wasn’t,” said Sundan.

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