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Tens of thousands in India demand rebuilding of Hindu temple

Supporters of Vishwa Hindu Parishad or World Hindu Council stand on blocks prepared for making a new temple as they gather Nov. 25, 2018, for a rally to demand the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, India. Tens of thousands of Hindus gathered in the northern Indian city renewing calls to build a Hindu temple on a site where a mosque was attacked and demolished in 1992, sparking deadly Hindu-Muslim violence. (AP Photo)

LUCKNOW, India (AP) — Tens of thousands of Hindus gathered in northern India on Sunday (Nov. 25) renewing calls to build a Hindu temple on a site where a 16th-century mosque was attacked and demolished by Hindu hard-liners in 1992, sparking deadly Hindu-Muslim violence.

The demonstrators chanted slogans demanding the building of the temple and waved a banner that said, “No more requests, now it will be battle.”

The Hindu hard-liners are building pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to move quickly on the issue. Modi had promised to build the temple in the 2014 national elections that brought him to power. The next national elections are due before May next year.

Security was stepped up for the rally, with thousands of police and paramilitary forces deployed in and around Ayodhya, a town 550 kilometers (350 miles) east of New Delhi, to prevent any attacks on Muslims, who comprise 6 percent of the town’s more than 55,500 people.

The gathering brought Hindu holy men and activists to the town where the Hindu god Ram was believed to have been born.

“Hindus have waited for a long time. They are losing patience,” Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, who heads the committee on the disputed land, told the crowd. “The time has come for the government to take a call.”

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s ally in the federal government, the Shiv Sena party, asked Modi’s government to bring legislation to build the temple, as India’s top court is taking time to settle a land title dispute between Hindus and Muslims.

Shiv Sena’s chief, Uddav Thackeray, said if construction of the temple does not start, Modi’s government would not return to power. “The prime minister has to choose between the temple and the government,” he told reporters.

Hindu fundamentalists with pickaxes and crowbars razed the 16th-century Babri Mosque in December 1992.

Hindu groups say the mosque was built after a temple dedicated to Ram was destroyed by Muslim invaders.

The destruction of the mosque sparked riots across India that left at least 2,000 people dead. Thousands more died in later violence caused by disputes over the site.

The issue was also taken to court. A lower court in 2010 ruled that the disputed land should be divided into three parts — two for the Hindus and one for the Muslims. The decision was challenged in the Supreme court, but there has not been any decision yet.

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Biswajeet Banerjee

10 Comments

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  • One more example of the Mr. Hyde side of religion. Religion as an excuse for and vehicle of aggressive, violent tribalism.

  • While the Muslim Moguls tore down many Hindu, Buddhist and Jain temples in past centuries during periods of intolerance; it is time for the Hindus to rise above the sins of the past and forgive. Show tolerance and respect for minority religions.

  • In my little corner of redneck, “Trump-country” northern California we have a mosque, two Sikh temples, a Hindu Temple and we are even going to get Mormon temple in the near future. The enlightened religions of mother India have been here for almost a century, almost as long as the Mormons and the Bible-thumpers.

  • Nope.

    At least two other ways of formulating the problem are possible:

    A) India is facing the same problem that the West has had to face: how to tolerate the intolerant, if the intolerant are a large minority?

    B) The social sciences curricula that are taught in India have an implicit assumption that Muslims are too premodern to develop a liberal intelligentsia. Of course, Hindus are premodern too, but not as premodern as Muslims. Therefore Hindus must be liberal, must have agency, whereas Muslims are not expected to be liberal, not to have agency.

    Then there is your own formulation of the problem: C) Both Hindus and Muslims are merely aggressive, violent tribals, ie, their problems are not amenable to intellectual thought.

    Perhaps others can chip in with D, E, F, …

    Which should we choose?

  • “Both Hindus and Muslims are merely aggressive, violent tribals.”
    If you read my comment carefully, you will see that I did not say that, but only if you read carefully.

  • Similar thing here in Solid Blue Jersey City. Hindu and Muslims have been sharing the same neighborhoods in a peaceable manner for 2 generations now. Plus we have Ms Marvel.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ms._Marvel_(Kamala_Khan)

    America is one of the few places on Earth where people leave their sectarian conflicts behind when they make a new life here. This is the place people come to in order to get away from that sort of thing.

  • That’s the America that we want to preserve, not the one being imagined in Moscow and Riyadh for clueless Trump to impose.

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