This is the last article you can read this month
You can read more article this month
You can read more articles this month
Sorry your limit is up for this month
INDIAN Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered prayers at a ceremony today to mark the construction of a Hindu temple, which is to be controversially built on the site of a demolished 16th-century mosque.
The ceremony was timed to coincide with the first anniversary of India’s only Muslim-majority state, Jammu and Kashmir, being stripped of its semi-autonomous status.
Lal Krishna Advani, a 92-year-old senior figure in the ruling Hindu-chauvinist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who led the 1990s campaign for the temple’s construction in Uttar Pradesh state, welcomed the move.
“It’s an emotional and historic moment. The wait has been worthwhile,” he said.
At least 3,000 paramilitary soldiers were mobilised and security barricades and roadblocks put in place in the city of Ayodhya to prevent disturbances.
Mr Modi offered prayers to Ram, the most revered god in Hindu culture, while wearing the traditional gold kurta, a type of long shirt, what was seen as a hugely symbolic moment.
The Indian premier said that the site had been “liberated” and that a “grand house” would be finally constructed for Ram, who had been living “in a tent for years.”
The BJP pledged in its manifesto to revoke Kashmir’s semi-independent status and build a temple on the site of the Mogul-era mosque.
Muslims make up around 14 per cent of India’s 1.3 billion population and have been the target of pogroms, including violence last year over the status of Kashmir and the controversial citizenship law.
The Babri Masjid mosque was destroyed by Hindus using pickaxes and crowbars when they attacked the building in December 1992. Some 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in subsequent violence.
According to Hindus, the site is the birthplace of Ram. They claim that Muslim emperor Babur built a mosque on top of a temple that existed there.
Muslims fear that the construction of the new temple could lead to the targeting of two other mosques in Uttar Pradesh.
Iqbal Ansari, one of the litigants on the Muslim side in a Supreme Court case concerning the site, said: “The Modi government should assure Muslims that Hindu outfits will not ask for the construction of temples in Varanasi and Mathura after demolishing existing mosques there.”
He attended the ceremony and said that he respected all “sadhus and saints,” but would have preferred a school and hospital to have been built on the site.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.