Ayodhya, Oct 16 (ANI): Construction work of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Temple is underway, in Ayodhya on Monday. (ANI Photo)
THE Hindu temple in Ayodhya will open just months before national elections next year, officials said on Tuesday (24).
The holy city in northern India has long been a religious tinderbox, providing the spark for some of the country’s worst sectarian violence.
Devout Hindus believe that Lord Ram was born in Ayodhya around 7,000 years ago, but that a mosque was constructed on top of his birthplace in the 16th century.
The nearly 500-year-old mosque was demolished by Hindu zealots in 1992, sparking riots across the country in which 2,000 people, mainly Muslims, died.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a prominent Hindu group whose millions of members conduct paramilitary drills and prayer meetings, and which is closely connected to India’s ruling party, said an idol to Lord Ram would be consecrated on January 22.
“A temple for Shri Ramlala, whose picture is depicted on a page of the original copy of our Constitution, is being built in Ayodhya,” RSS said in a post on social media.
“Shri Ramlala will be consecrated in the (innermost shrine) of the temple”, it added.
After a decades-long legal battle, India’s top court awarded the site to Hindus in 2019.
It was a major victory for prime minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The temple to Ram has been one of the main pledges of Modi, who laid the foundations of the building in 2020.
Modi is widely expected to win a third term in the national elections due by May next year.
The RSS called for celebrations when the temple idol is consecrated.