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Indiaís Modi inaugurates Hindu temple on site of razed mosque ahead of elections


This screen grab from video footage from the Narendra Modi Youtube Channel taken and released on January 22, 2024 shows Indiaís Prime Minister walking up the stairs to officially consecrate the Ram temple in Ayodhya in Indiaíís Uttar Pradesh state. (Via AFP)

Indiaís Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated a controversial temple that was built on the site of a historic mosque, demolished by Hindu extremists, heralding a "new era" for India.

"January 22, 2024, is not merely a date in the calendar but heralds the advent of a new era," Modi said, speaking outside the temple to the Hindu deity Ram on Monday.

Modi has been accused of orchestrating the event for political gain ahead of the upcoming elections in the spring.

The opening ceremony was seen as an unofficial start to his re-election campaign this year, where he will seek a third term in power. The general election is expected to be held between April and May.

The inauguration of the temple, which came amid rising anti-Muslim hate crimes in India, has evoked blood-soaked memories of the violence that was sparked after the mosque that stood for centuries in Ayodhya was torn down in 1992 by Hindu far-right mobs incited by members of Modiís ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Some 2,000 people, most of them Muslims, were killed in the violence.

Speaking to media, Mohammed Shahid, 52, recounted how his father was burned alive by a mob.

"For me, the temple symbolizes nothing but death and destruction," he told AFP last month.

Ever since it came to power in 2014, the BJP has been synonymous with its anti-Muslim stance as there have been recurring incidences, including mob lynching and hurting the sentiments of minority groups, especially of the Muslims of India.

Modi has been setting his sights on winning a third straight term by pleasing the Hindu majority in India.

Sunita Viswanath, executive director of the US-based nonprofit group Hindus for Human Rights, said the inauguration of the temple is an "electoral stunt" that "should not be happening in the name of my faith."

 

LINK: https://www.ansarpress.com/english/29754


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