Asia - pacific

India: Hindu rally pushes temple at former mosque site

Historic Babri Mosque was destroyed in 1992, and right-wing Hindu groups want to erect temple to Ram in its place

09.12.2018
India: Hindu rally pushes temple at former mosque site File Photo

By Ahmad Adil

NEW DELHI

Thousands of Hindu activists, monks, and leaders associated with the right-wing Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) party held a rally in the Indian capital New Delhi on Sunday to press for construction of a temple at the site where a historic mosque was destroyed in 1992.

There has been a renewed push by right-wing Hindu groups for a new temple in the town of Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh -- formerly the site of the 16th century Babri Mosque -- ahead of general election next spring.

Sunday’s rally at New Delhi’s Ramlila grounds was attended by leaders from other right-wing groups as well.

“We want an ordinance to come up, so that a temple to Ram can be built at Ayodhya,” Vinod Bansal, national spokesperson for Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), told Anadolu Agency, referring to claims the site is the birthplace of the Hindu deity Ram.

“Those in power today promised to construct the Ram temple. They should listen to the people and fulfill the demand,” senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi said at the rally on Sunday, according to New Delhi Television (NDTV). The RSS is the ideological mentor of India’s ruling Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP).

After Hindus destroyed the Babri Mosque in 1992, it sparked nationwide riots that left around 2,000 people dead. Muslims have demanded a new mosque at the site.

The controversy is set to face a hearing next month at the Indian Supreme Court.

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