Modi to lay foundation of Ayodhya temple on Aug 5

Published July 27, 2020
The temple will serve as an enduring and immortal beaming center of social harmony, national unity and integration and awakening of the feeling of Hindutva. — AFP/File
The temple will serve as an enduring and immortal beaming center of social harmony, national unity and integration and awakening of the feeling of Hindutva. — AFP/File

NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend a groundbreaking ceremony next month for a Hindu temple on a disputed site in northern India where a 16th century mosque was torn down by Hindu hard-liners in 1992, according to the trust overseeing the temple construction.

The ceremony is set for Aug 5, a date organisers said was astrologically auspicious for Hindus but that also marks a year since the Indian Parliament revoked the semi-autonomous status of Muslim-majority state, occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

The symbolism was impossible to miss for both supporters and opponents of Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, whose manifesto had for decades included pledges to strip restive Kashmir's autonomy and to build a temple to the Hindu deity Ram where the Mughal-era mosque once stood, a site in the city of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh state.

Because the coronavirus is still rampaging across India, which has reported the world’s third-highest caseload, the ceremony will be broadcast live on state television and the number of participants and spectators will be limited, according to Vishwa Hindu Parishad, or the World Hindu Organisation, a Hindu nationalist group allied with the BJP.

The temple will serve as an enduring and immortal beaming center of social harmony, national unity and integration and awakening of the feeling of Hindutva, or Hindu way of life, the organisation’s spokesperson Vinod Bansal said in a news release on Saturday.

A century-long dispute over the site was resolved last year following the BJP’s landslide election victory.

In November, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the temple trust, saying that Muslim petitions would be given five acres at an alternative site.

Hindus hard-liners have long contended that Mughal Muslim invaders built a mosque on top of a preexisting temple in the ancient city of Ayodya.

A December 1992 riot following the destruction of the mosque sparked communal violence in which about 2,000 people were killed, mostly Muslims.

Meanwhile, the trial in the demolition court case continues to be heard in a special court.

An architect from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, Modi’s home state, has proposed a towering sandstone structure 161 feet (49 metres) high with five domes.

Yogi Adityanath, Uttar Pradesh’s chief minister and a Hindu monk, requested that Ayodhya hold a special cleaning and purification ceremony and for all of the city’s temples to light oil lamps ahead of Modi’s visit, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

Adityanath said the occasion marked the end of a 500-year struggle, PTI reported.

Published in Dawn, July 27th, 2020

Opinion

Editorial

IMF’s unease
Updated 24 May, 2024

IMF’s unease

It is clear that the next phase of economic stabilisation will be very tough for most of the population.
Belated recognition
24 May, 2024

Belated recognition

WITH Wednesday’s announcement by three European states that they intend to recognise Palestine as a state later...
App for GBV survivors
24 May, 2024

App for GBV survivors

GENDER-based violence is caught between two worlds: one sees it as a crime, the other as ‘convention’. The ...
Energy inflation
Updated 23 May, 2024

Energy inflation

The widening gap between the haves and have-nots is already tearing apart Pakistan’s social fabric.
Culture of violence
23 May, 2024

Culture of violence

WHILE political differences are part of the democratic process, there can be no justification for such disagreements...
Flooding threats
23 May, 2024

Flooding threats

WITH temperatures in GB and KP forecasted to be four to six degrees higher than normal this week, the threat of...