A powerful Hindu priest said on Wednesday he would lead a group of followers to start building a Hindu temple on the ruins of a 16th-century mosque, which could violate a court order and raise religious tensions in an election year. A Hindu mob levelled the mosque in 1992, sparking communal riots that killed about 2,000 people across India. The site, in the northern town of Ayodhya, has been the focus of dispute between majority Hindus and minority Muslims for many years.…
“We’ll lay the foundation stone there on Feb. 21,” Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati said after meeting Hindu monks and priests at the Kumbh Mela, in Uttar Pradesh.… Saraswati’s aides said they were ready to be arrested if their attempts are resisted. His statement to Reuters partner ANI and others comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government petitioned the Supreme Court to return land around the site seized by various court orders over the years.
Building the temple is a key demand of the conservative Hindu allies of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and has gained fresh impetus ahead of a general election due by May. The BJP said in its 2014 general election manifesto it would “explore all possibilities within the framework of the constitution” to facilitate the construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site.…
- Deoband ulemas warn saints over Ayodhya march, say dont test patience of Muslims (Jan 31, 2019, Times of India)
- Centre Seeks Supreme Court Nod to Return Ayodhya Land Not Under Dispute to Ram Temple Trust (Jan 29, 2019, News18.com)
- Attempt to pre-empt SC decision, appease Sangh ahead of polls: Oppn on Centre’s plea on undisputed Ayodhya land (Jan 29, 2019, Indian Express)
- Save farmers in UP first: SP chief Akhilesh Yadav responds to Yogi’s ‘Ram Mandir resolution in 24 hours’ claim (Jan 27, 2019, Times Now)