26th anniversary of demolition of historic Babri Mosque falls as top court set to rule on proposed temple

India: Tight security ahead of day mosque was destroyed

By Ahmad Adil

NEW DELHI, India 

Security has been tightened in Uttar Pradesh, India on the eve of Thursday’s 26th anniversary of the demolition of a 16th-century mosque.

A senior official in the Uttar Pradesh government told Anadolu Agency that sufficient security arrangements have been made and security has been deployed in all sensitive places, to prevent any untoward incidents in the northern town of Ayodhya.

“We’re keeping a close eye of the sensitive places, and additional security personnel have been deployed as well,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

This time, officials say, they are taking more measures keeping in view fresh tensions in the town from Nov. 25, when thousands of Hindus nationalists descended on Ayodhya to demand the construction of a temple at a site where the historic Babri Mosque once stood.

There have recently been renewed efforts by Hindus in India to promote building a temple in Ayodhya.

In December 1992, Hindus gathered at the disputed site and destroyed the 16th-century mosque named after Mughal Emperor Babur. The destruction sparked nationwide riots that left around 2,000 people dead. Muslims have demanded a new mosque at the site. Hindus claim that this was where their god Ram was born, demanding instead a temple be erected there. The Indian Supreme Court is set to hear the case in January.

– Impatience and nationalist votes

Right-wing Hindu leaders, however, are saying the time has come when governments should build the temple.

“We can’t wait so long. We’re demanding that an ordinance should be come up in Parliament so that temple can come up soon,” Vinod Bansal, national spokesperson for the right-wing Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), told Anadolu Agency.

He said saints and VHP leaders are meeting on Dec. 9, in New Delhi, to again demand that the government introduce a measure to build a temple.

The Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted Sharad Sharma, another VHP spokesperson, saying that on Thursday the VHP and various Hindu groups in Ayodhya are likely to organize “a number of religious programs, including a hawan, so that a grand temple of Lord Ram is built.”

Muslim leaders, however, say that only the top court will resolve the issue.

Tasleem Rahmani, head of the New Delhi-based Muslim Political Council, told Anadolu Agency: “It is the duty of everyone to wait for the final verdict of the Supreme Court. The matter is sub judice. Any attempt to build the temple will actually amount to contempt of court and insult to our judicial institution.”

Zafaryab Jilani, senior advocate at the High Court, Lucknow and convener of the Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC), told Anadolu Agency the judgment of the Indian Supreme Court is the only solution to the dispute, and fresh attempts by some Hindu parties are aimed at “polarizing Hindu votes” ahead of spring 2019 general elections.

Leaders from the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) say they will wait till January, when the case comes up at the Supreme Court.

“As far as the BJP is concerned we have made clear in the manifesto and it is known to everyone that a grand temple, will come up … however, the current situation suggests the case is pending in the Supreme Court and we need to wait till January,” Syed Zafar Islam, a BJP spokesperson, told Anadolu Agency.

“The party will explore all the options” in the case, he said.