India's Modi to attend temple groundbreaking at site of former mosque
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be attending a groundbreaking ceremony for construction of a Hindu temple at the site of a demolished mosque in Ayodhya, northern India.
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Modi will lay the foundation stone for the temple next week in Ayodhya, in northern India, where Hindu zealots demolished the 460-year-old Babri Mosque in 1992.
“PM Modi is coming for the ceremony on August 5,” said the right-wing organization Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council), which led the campaign to build the temple.
The construction of the Hindu temple has been a campaign pledge of Modi’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since the 1980s.
India’s supreme court ruled in favor of the construction of the temple in November last year, claiming that the mosque had not been “built on vacant land” and had displaced a former temple.
Hindus and Muslims have been locked in a conflict over the site for 150 years.
Modi’s contentious decision to attend the event prompted reactions from Muslim opposition members of the Indian parliament, who said his visit would harm the “secular fabric” of the nation.
The ceremony would also mark one year since Modi’s government revoked the semi-autonomous status of its only Muslim-majority state, Jammu and Kashmir. The move sparked a wave of tensions throughout Kashmir, which is divided between India and Pakistan.