Hindus rally for temple to be built at ruins of Indian mosque

PHOTO: REUTERS
PHOTO: REUTERS

Thousands of Hindu monks and activists linked to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party gathered in Indian capital New Delhi yesterday to urge the government to build a temple at the former site of a 16th century mosque in Ayodhya.

The calls for a new temple come ahead of an election that must be held by May, when Mr Modi will seek a second term.

Most analysts expect Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to fare far less well than it did in 2014, and critics often accuse the party of using communal issues to whip up support. For the past three decades, BJP and associated Hindu outfits have resurrected the Ayodhya controversy before elections, stoking tensions between Hindus and Muslims, who make up 14 per cent of India's 1.3 billion people.

In 1992, a Hindu mob tore down the Ayodhya mosque, triggering riots that killed about 2,000 people across India.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 10, 2018, with the headline 'Hindus rally for temple to be built at ruins of Indian mosque'. Print Edition | Subscribe