Modi set to open controversial Ayodhya Hindu temple, keeping decades-old vow

Arief Budi
Arief Budi

Global Courant

NEW DELHI – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is poised to open a Hindu temple where a centuries-old mosque once stood in the northern town of Ayodhya.

In doing so, he will achieve a pledge made by his nationalist party in 1990 and that’s now aimed at reinvigorating his base ahead of elections next year. 

The first phase of the Ram Temple will be completed in December and will open to devotees in January, an official said on Thursday.

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Mr Modi, 72, is expected to preside over the installation of the god Ram’s idol at the temple.

The site was bitterly contested for years, with both Hindus and Muslims laying claim to it.

Hindus say it was the birthplace of Lord Ram, and was holy to them long before Muslim Mughals built the Babri mosque there in 1528.

A Hindu mob destroyed the mosque in 1992.

That incident triggered riots that killed about 2,000 people across India, most of them Muslims.

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The Supreme Court handed custody of the religious site to Hindus in 2019.

It paved the way for the construction of a Hindu temple, a plan long supported by Mr Modi’s ruling Hindu-nationalist party.

“The ceremonies to move the idol to the temple starts on Jan 14 and is likely to take 10-12 days,” Mr Nripendra Misra, chairman of the temple construction committee, told reporters. 

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The construction of the temple and the surrounding complex, slated to be completed in 2025, is estimated to cost 15 billion rupees (S$246 million), said Mr Misra.

Modi set to open controversial Ayodhya Hindu temple, keeping decades-old vow

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