WATCH Indian town of Ayodhya celebrate historic return of Ram temple
RT’s Runjhun Sharma reports from Ayodhya, once a sleepy town in northern India, which carries great significance for Hindus as the birthplace of the god Ram. On January 22, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a new temple in Ayodhya, putting a symbolic end to a decades-old controversy surrounding the site.
Since the 1980s, the site has been at the center of political discourse in India. Some believe it was originally the location of a Hindu temple that was demolished to construct a Babri Masjid mosque some five centuries ago.
The decades-long, politico-legal debates ended with a Supreme Court decision in 2019 that ordered that the disputed land be handed over for the construction of a Hindu temple, while the Muslim side would be compensated with five acres of land at a prominent site in the town on which to build a mosque. The construction of the mosque hasn’t yet started – despite Ayodhya undergoing unprecedented infrastructural change, with new roads being built and both commercial and residential real estate marketing booming in anticipation of an inflow of tourists.
Around 8,000 people, including the country’s top politicians, business leaders, celebrities, and sportsmen gathered in Ayodhya on January 22 to attend a splendid inauguration ceremony, which was also televised nationwide. The event, seen as historic by political leaders and the public, represents an opportunity for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to gain significant political capital ahead of general elections later this year.
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