Inaugurated by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi A Hindu temple built on ruins Babri Mosque Which was demolished by Hindu extremists in 1992, after the call to prayer had been raised from it for centuries.
The destruction of the mosque sparked riots across India that killed about 2,000 people, and represented a flashpoint in Indian politics that deepened religious tensions.
The opening of the Hindu temple in the town of Ayodhya in northern India comes after a long political and legal battle, and was celebrated by the ruling Hindu nationalist party led by Modi as a long-awaited promise that was finally fulfilled.
Modi's most extreme supporters celebrated it as a consolidation of hegemony Hindus who view themselves as the religious majority in India.
Indian Muslims and secularists considered the construction and inauguration of the temple the latest evidence of Modi's sectarianism, and “a sign that this country has become more than ever a primarily Hindu country,” according to Indian historian Ramachandra Guha.
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For his part, Modi said after performing a prayer at the feet of a stone statue in the heart of the temple, “The date of January 22, 2024 is not just a date in the calendar, but rather heralds a new era.”
He continued, “What we are seeing are the supreme blessings of Ram,” referring to the Hindu deity to whom this temple was dedicated. Before the inauguration ceremony, Modi said, “God made me a tool to represent the entire people of India.”
Outside the temple – whose construction cost was estimated at about $240 million – tens of thousands were singing and dancing, waving flags, sounding trumpets and beating drums in the streets of the town of Ayodhya, while military helicopters were spraying flowers.