Nepal | August 15, 2020

Independence Day 2020

India police patrol ahead of construction of temple on bitterly contested site

Share Now:

LUCKNOW: Police have been ordered onto the streets of an Indian town where Hindu groups will next week begin building a temple on a site contested by Muslims for decades in a dispute that has sparked some of the country’s most bloody communal violence.

The Supreme Court of India ruled last year that Hindus, who believe the site in the northern town of Ayodhya is the birthplace of Lord Ram, a physical incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu, be allowed to build a temple there.

Hindu priests and supporters of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), a Hindu nationalist organisation, perform rituals next to pots filled with holy water and soil which they brought from various Hindu religious places, before taking the pots to the northern town of Ayodhya for a stone laying ceremony in the Ram Temple, in Ahmedabad, India July 27, 2020. Photo: Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose ruling Bharatiya Janata Party campaigned for more than three decades for the temple, has been invited to lay the temple’s foundation stone on Aug. 5, officials said.

“But his visit depends on the pandemic situation and security concerns around it,” said a senior official in Modi’s office in New Delhi, referring to the novel coronavirus.

“Social distancing rules will be followed,” said the official, who declined to be identified as he is not an authorised spokesman.

In 1992, a Hindu mob destroyed the 16th-century mosque on the site, triggering riots in which about 2,000 people, most of them Muslims, were killed across the country.

Court battles over the ownership of the site followed.

Since the court ruling last year, tension has eased and Muslims, who make up about 12% overwhelmingly Hindu India, have largely accepted the decision.

“We’ve accepted that Hindu temple will be built and there’s no point in creating tension,” said Shakib Noor, a member of a Muslim religious board in Ayodhya

Nevertheless, authorities in Ayodhya have ordered police to patrol the streets and for barricades to be set up to prevent big crowds gathering next week.

While India has ended its most coronavirus restrictions, it has maintained a ban on religious gatherings.

Donations for the temple have poured in from Hindus in India and abroad. It should be finished by 2022, its supporters say.

“This is a great moment for the entire Hindu community,” said Sharad Sharma, a senior member of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a hardline Hindu group involved in the temple’s construction.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

In Pictures: The monsoon woes

KATHMANDU: Due to poor drainage system along the roads in Kathmandu valley, motorists and pedestrians face difficulties to commute, during the monsoon season. Read More...

Rizwan 50 frustrates England as Pakistan pass 200-mark

SOUTHAMPTON: Pakistan middle-order batsman Mohammad Rizwan hit a defiant half century on a difficult batting pitch to guide his side past the 200-mark in their first innings and frustrate England in the second test on Friday. Having resumed on 126-5 overnight, Pakistan reached tea on the seco Read More...

Govt’s failure to ensure timely fertiliser to hit paddy yield

KATHMANDU, AUGUST 14 The government has not been able to ensure smooth supply of fertiliser and that could dash farmers’ hope of a good yield as paddy plantation was completed in time this year. Earlier, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development had promised farmers that it would Read More...

44 feared dead in Sindhupalchowk landslide

KAVRE, AUGUST 14 Forty-four people are feared dead after a landslide swept away 37 houses in Lidi in Jugal Rural Municipality, Sindhupalchowk, this morning. Bodies of 10 locals have been recovered from the landslide debris, while 34 people have gone missing. Among the bodies recovered by Nepal Read More...

Supreme Court cuts down workload amidst COVID pandemic

KATHMANDU, AUGUST 14 The Supreme Court today decided to close its non-urgent court proceedings till August 31 due to spike in coronavirus cases. The court issued a press release saying it would allow urgent proceedings to go on unhindered, respecting the rule of social distancing and by adopting Read More...

Govt serving leftists alone, says Sitaula

JHAPA, AUGUST 14 Nepali Congress leader Krishna Prasad Sitaula has accused the government of working for the communists only. “Circumstances after the COVID-19 crisis have shown that the communist government is working for the communists only, not for the entire people. That is why the peopl Read More...

Damak, Jhapa

Community spread of COVID-19 feared in Damak Municipality

JHAPA, AUGUST 14 COVID-19 infection in six persons has fuelled suspicion of community spread of the virus in Jhapa’s Damak Municipality. According to the health department of the municipality, the infected include a girl of Damak-7 and five staffers of Nepal Electricity Authority Damak Distr Read More...

New law empowers local levels to control pollution in their area

KATHMANDU, AUGUST 14 The Environment and Natural Resources Protection Act-2020, enacted for the purpose of all local levels prohibit any person or organisation from causing pollution contrary to the existing standards, that may cause significant adverse impact on public life, human health and env Read More...