Hindu Nationalists in India Renew Demand for Temple
Right-wing groups plan rallies to push for temple on site of destroyed mosque
Hindu nationalist groups in India are again clamouring for the building of a temple on the site of a 16th-century mosque which was demolished by a Hindu mob over two decades ago, an incident many lamented as a betrayal of the country’s secular tradition.
Many Hindus believe the Babri Masjid or mosque in the city of Ayodhya, in Uttar Pradesh, was built on land that was the birthplace of their deity, Lord Ram. The right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological backbone of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has launched a nine-day or chariot procession, to highlight its demand that the government decree the temple’s construction. Another right-wing Hindu nationalist group, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), plans to stage a rally in the capital, New Delhi, tomorrow to push for a Bill on the temple in the federal Parliament.
BJP ally the Shiv Sena, a far-right political party whose primary base is in Maharashtra state, also plans to hold rallies in different parts of the country.
A group of Hindu nationalists had gathered on November 25 in Ayodhya to push for the building of the temple in the politically important central state of Uttar Pradesh which sends 80 MPs, the largest number of any state, to Parliament.
“We can’t wait for infinity. Now Parliament is the only solution. “The current government is committed. They will have to deliver it,” said Mr Vinod Bansal of the VHP .
“We are going to make it a mass movement,” he added, referring to the campaign to build the temple.
Protesters at a demonstration organised by the hardline United Hindu Front group to mark the 26th anniversary of the razing of the 16th-century Babri mosque in the city of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.