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Iran Press TV

Indian PM takes part in controversial Hindu ceremony at site of destroyed mosque

Iran Press TV

Wednesday, 05 August 2020 10:37 AM

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken part in a controversial ceremony for the laying of the foundation of a Hindu temple at the site of a destroyed mosque.

The new temple, in Ayodhya in northern India, will be built on the ruins of the historic Babri Masjid, which was attacked and destroyed by a large group of Hindu zealots in 1992.

The destruction of the mosque triggered a wave of violence that left around 2,000 people dead across India.

The construction of the temple has been a long-standing promise of Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). A court ruling in November last year cleared the way for the construction of the temple and marked a victory for the BJP.

"India is emotional as decades of wait has ended. Crores won't believe that they have seen this day in our lifetime. For years, our Ram Lalla (infant Lord Ram) lived beneath a tent. Now, he will reside in a grand temple built by Ram bhakts," said PM Modi, adding as quoted by NDTV before he began chanting prayers that, "Today, Ram Janambhoomi has been liberated."

Ayodhya is the location of the birth place of Lord Ram, a major deity of Hinduism.

"The temple construction won't just add to the beauty of Ayodhya… it would also change its face and more opportunities will be created," Modi said. "Imagine, people from across the world will come here for darshan of Lord Ram and Janaki Mata. This temple will become a symbol of our heritage, our unwavering faith. It will also become a symbol of resolve of crores of people."

A Hindu priest said at the ceremony, "Not only the mankind, the entire universe – all the birds and animals – are enthralled by this golden moment."

The development coincides with the anniversary of another Indian government move against Muslims, namely the revocation of the autonomy of Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir.

Modi's government revoked the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir – the Indian-administered part of disputed Kashmir region – in August 2019, in what has angered both the Muslim population in India and Pakistan.

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