India: Hindus demand building of temple on disputed Ayodhya site

India: Hindus demand building of temple on disputed Ayodhya site

Modi government urged to build temple at site of mosque razed by Hindu mob in 1992

Dozens of Hindu monks and tens of thousands of followers have urged the Indian government to help build a temple on the ruins of a 16th-century mosque.

Causing a frenzy in a crowd of more than 200,000 people, Hindu seers made a series of fiery speeches laced with religious overtones on Sunday to demand action paving the way for a temple in the northern town of Ayodhya.

A Hindu mob tore down the centuries-old mosque in Ayodhya in 1992, triggering riots that killed about 2,000 people across India in one of the worst outbreaks of communal violence since partition in 1947.

After the demolition of the mosque, both Hindu and Muslim groups petitioned the supreme court to help resolve the issue. The top court has sought more time to give its verdict.

Narendra Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and its parent movement, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), have asked the government to issue an executive order to build a temple, bypassing the supreme court.

The BJP, VHP and RSS have organised a series of religious meetings to drum up support for their cause and also to put pressure on the government to issue the executive order.

Exhorting the crowd to take a vow to build a temple in Ayodhya, the Hindu monk Avdheshanand Giri ji Maharaj said: “The government and the supreme court must realise that it is a matter of religious sentiment for Hindus who have been waiting to see a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya.”

As millions of Hindus believe the mosque stood at the birthplace of Lord Ram, one of their most revered deities, the dispute remains at the core of tensions between the Hindu majority and India’s Muslim minority, constituting 14% of the country’s 1.3 billion people.

Hindu groups claim there was a temple at the site before the mosque was built in 1528 by a Muslim ruler.

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