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Communal tensions rise in India amidst Ayodhya temple inauguration

Ayodhya, 26 January, 2024 (GNP): The inauguration of the grand temple dedicated to the Hindu god Ram in Ayodhya has sparked reactions from OIC, and fueling communal tensions in India.

Background of Ayodhya dispute 

In 1992, a Hindu mob demolished a 16th-century mosque in Ayodhya, leading to widespread riots that claimed approximately 2,000 lives, mostly Muslims.

In 2019, India’s Supreme Court ruled the mosque’s demolition unlawful but allocated the site for a Hindu temple and provided alternative land for mosque construction.

Mosque construction plans

The Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation (IICF) plans to commence mosque construction in Ayodhya after Ramazan, led by Haji Arfat Shaikh. The mosque project symbolizes hope but faces fundraising challenges compared to the swift progress of the Ram temple construction.

Fundraising challenges:

While the Ram temple received substantial donations from Hindu groups aligned with Prime Minister Modi’s BJP, Muslim groups face hurdles in raising funds. A crowd-funding website is set to launch to facilitate mosque contributions.

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International Reactions

  • Pakistan: Condemned the temple inauguration as a symbol of majoritarianism and urged India to uphold secular values. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister emphasized the need for India to respect the rights of its religious minorities.

  • OIC: Denounced the temple construction, expressing concern over Islamic landmarks’ obliteration and rising Islamophobia in India. The organization called for international attention to protect the rights of Muslims in India.

Communal clashes in Mumbai

Communal clashes erupted in Mumbai following the temple’s inauguration, resulting in the demolition of Muslim-owned shopfronts. Authorities arrested individuals connected to the clashes, emphasizing the need for peaceful resolution amidst heightened sensitivities.

The clashes underscored longstanding tensions between religious communities in India’s urban centers and highlighted the challenges of maintaining communal harmony in diverse societies.

Pakistan seeks UN support

Pakistan urged the UN to protect and preserve Islamic sites in India, citing the temple inauguration’s impact on Indian Muslims’ well-being and regional harmony. The call for UN intervention reflects growing international concern over religious freedoms in India.