Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has sacked Samajwadi leader Ompal Nehra, who held minister of state rank, after his remark that Muslims should give up their claims on mosques in Ayodhya, Mathura and Kashi and help build temples there.
Mr Nehra, an adviser in the entertainment tax department, made the comment at a function in Bijnore on Thursday evening. He appeared to be referring to the controversy over the VHP bringing truckloads of stones for a temple at the Ayodhya site.
After being sacked, Mr Nehra said he stood by his remarks. “Nehra has been sacked by the Chief Minister," SP spokesman and cabinet minister Rajendra Chowdhury said on Friday. The action by Chief Minister, who is also the state president of ruling Samajwadi Party, came as the Ram temple issue came into renewed focus with two truck loads of stones for construction of the temple being brought to Ayodhya by Vishva Hindu Parishad.
Mr Nehra had on December 23 suggested that Muslims should come forward and help build temples at disputed sites in Ayodhya and Mathura, so that organisations like VHP lose their identity.
“Where can a Ram temple be built if not in Ayodhya? In Mathura, where we worship Krishna, how can there be a mosque there. Muslims should think about it and in fact come forward for Kar Seva (voluntary work) and say build the temples at these places. We should not fall in their (VHP's)trap," Nehra said.