May 26, 2024

Moon Desk: Tension prevails across India, especially in Uttar Pradesh, where the Ram temple is going to be inaugurated at the site of demolished five centuries old Babri Masjid at Ayodhya, today, with state-sponsored fanfare by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is using the event as a political gimmick. As building the temple has been part of BJP’s election strategy for decades, Muslim residents of the erstwhile multicultural hub have sent their children and women to relatives in neighbouring towns, fearing attacks by Hindutva mob.
On December 6, 1992, a Hindu mob had razed the 16th century Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on the bogus claim that Muslims had built it over the place of an ancient temple. The mosque destruction is celebrated as a day victory by Hindutva supporters, while for Muslims, it was a day of terror. Since the BJP government came in power in 2014, wiping out all traces of Muslim or Islamic civilization from India has become the primary objective of the Modi regime.The central force has been guarding the Ramjanmbhoomi since the late 1990s. Special state forces have the largest component, with 1,400 personnel from UP Police and PAC that will be deployed in the ‘red’ zone just outside the temple. Artificial intelligence, drones and CCTVs are being used as an added layer of security.
A local Muslim organisation submitted a petition to local authorities demanding strict security and vigil in localities with sizeable Muslim populations as well as other parts of Ayodhya which witnessed the demolition of Babri Masjid and communal violence in 1992. Among those invited to the inauguration include filmstars Amitabh Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor, Rajnikanth, Kangana Ranaut, Madhuri Dixit, Akshay Kumar, Anushka Sharma and cricketer husband Virat Kohli.
Interestingly, some of the most senior religious leaders of Hindu sects are boycotting the event. In an interview with the Newslaundry portal, Arshad Madani, president of the Deoband Muslim seminary, expressed similar fears. Muslims living in Ayodhya town say they are worried.
“In Ayodhya town, Hindus and Muslims have lived in peace, but in the past, due to mobs of outsiders at various events, the Muslim community has suffered loss of life, property and religious places,” stated Muslims’ petition to the police. In Ayodhya district, 14.8 per cent of the nearly 2.5 million inhabitants are Muslims, The Hindu said. There are roughly 5,000 Muslims in a four-kilometre radius around the temple. “Some Muslims have sent their children and women family members to relatives’ homes in Lucknow, Barabanki or other nearby districts as they are not going to trust the administration in view of the fear of 1990 and 1992 anti-Muslim riots,” said a member of the Sunni Central Waqf Board sub-committee in Ayodhya.
“Hundreds of thousands of men were all over Ayodhya. They had sticks, swords and tridents. Our house was surrounded by them,” Anwari Begum, now 65, recalled the destruction of the mosque while talking to BBC. “We ran from our homes. I ran with my six-month-old baby and small children. My husband was running behind us. When I turned, I saw that he had been caught by some men. We had to keep running for our lives,” she said. The next day she found out her husband, Mohammad Amin, had been killed, one of at least 17 Muslims who died in shocking violence in Ayodhya that day.

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