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Ram temple bhumi pujan invitee list cut short to 170-180 guests

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The list of invitees for the ‘bhumi pujan’ or the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, which originally had 208 people as guests, has been cut short to 170 to 180 in wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The groundbreaking ceremony for the temple is slated for August 5.

Former Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani and former HRD Minister Murli Manohar Joshi, are likely to attend the Ram Mandir bhumi pujan event at Ayodhya via videoconferencing. India Today has accessed the invitee list for the Ram temple bhumi pujan event.

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The list includes RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, chief of Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas Nritya Gopal Das, Bhaiyyaji Joshi, Dattatreya Hosabale and Lucknow field campaigner Anil Kumar.

Many known names that have not been included in the list of invitees include Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Morari Bapu.

About 50 saints have been invited to attend the Ram temple ceremony on August 5. These include Mahant Kamal Nayan Das, Ram Vilas Vedanti and Raju Das. Maharaj Bal Bhadracharya from Chitrakoot is likely to be invited for the grand event.

The list includes Acharya Narendra Giri and Jagatguru Swami Vasudevanand Saraswati from Prayagraj. However, Swami Vasudevanand Saraswati is likely to join the Ram temple bhumi pujan event via videoconferencing on August 5.

Apart from Jitendranand Saraswati from Kashi, three more Vedic scholars will be coming to be part of the learned Brahmins to perform the Ram temple bhumi pujan.

Professor Ram Chandra Pandey (Shri Kashi Vidya Parishad VP), Prof Ramnarayan Dwivedi (Shri Kashi Vidya Parishad minister) and Prof. Vinay Kumar Pandey (Shri Kashi Scholar Council organization minister) are likely to attend the event. These three professors are the teachers of the Faculty of Religion at Hindu University.

Mata Amritanandamayi from Kerala, Jathedar Giani Iqbal Singh from Takht Harmandir Sahib in Patna, Balkanand Giri from Haridwar and Acharya Kishore Kunal from Patna have been included in the list.

Sources say, during the bhumi pujan event on August 5, Prime Minister Modi may share the stage with four other leaders.

Apart from PM Modi, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and Nritya Gopal Das, chief of Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas, will be present on the stage along with two other dignitaries. No other leader or saint will be present on the stage for the ceremony.

The ‘bhumi pujan for the Ram mandir at Ayodhya is only a few days away, and despite the temple trust’s decision to cap the limit of invitees at 170-180 and its appeal to followers not to rush to the site in view of the coronavirus situation, many have expressed fears of overcrowding at the event, leading to a further spread in infections.