India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a temple dedicated to the Hindu god, Lord Ram, in Ayodhya.
The Prime Minister described the Wednesday event as momentous since the temple marks the collective resolution of Indians.
Conversely, days before the event, a Muslim member of the parliament warned Modi that his attendance at the ceremony would violate his “constitutional oath” to the secular country.
Why Is His Attendance Seen As A Violation?
Hindus claim that Ayodhya, the birthplace of Lord Ram, used to have a temple dedicated to him.
The temple was believed to be destroyed when Muslim Mughal Emperor Babur ordered to build the Babri Masjid mosque.
Hindus say that the mosque was built directly on its ruins.
In 1992, Hindu nationalists demolished the said mosque triggering, widespread riots.
The riots were then followed by retaliatory bombings in Mumbai that resulted in 200 deaths.
Rana Ayyub, a prominent Muslim journalist, described the Wednesday temple inauguration where “a criminal act” took place as an “ugly dance of fascism”.
Modi’s attendance can be interpreted as an act in favor of majoritarianism given the site’s history and his affiliation with the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
A court decision in 2019 allowed the construction of a Hindu temple on the site of the demolished mosque.
On the other hand, a mosque will be built 15 miles away from the former Babri Masjid site.
Muslims expressed mixed sentiments over the court verdict, some expressed dissatisfaction with the decision, while others considered it as closure for a multigenerational drift between Hindu and Muslim Indians.
In the words of Modi, “This temple will symbolize the determination and collective resolution of millions of Indians,”. He further said that this event is as momentous as “the day India gained independence.”