Byline: Abdul Majid
India's constitution upholds secularism and respect for religious diversity. However, there is a counter narrative of Hindu India. This means that India's identity should be defined on extremist Hindu religious lines and that all religious minorities should accept this identity. This point of view is propagated by Hindu hard line groups.
These groups claimed that the Babri Mosque was originally the birth place of RAM. Therefore, it should be demolished and a full Ram Mandir be established. The Congress Party Government could not control them and they demolished the Babri Mosque on December 6, 1992.
These Hindu extremist group identify with the BJP that ruled India in 1999-2004 and from May 2014 to the present. As the Modi Government in India indirectly supports Hindu hard line ideology these groups have used violence or threat of violence against the Muslims and other religious minorities who are citizens of India.
Key Words: BJP, Kashmir, Extremist Groups, Babri Mosque, Ram Temple,
The secular nature of the "Indian Constitution reflected the conviction of its makers that, given the religious diversity of India, secularism was the only way to hold the country together" (Wadhwa, 1975). This principle has helped the country to keep the religious divide in check and present a secular image to the outside world. This image was, however, tarnished on 6 December 1992, when a mob of Hindu extremists demolished the disputed Babri Mosque at Ayodhya. The act not only caused a setback to India's secularism but also established the supremacy of Hindu revivalist forces in the country. Among these forces, the Rashtriya Swayam-sevak Sangh (RSS), its religious wing the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), and its political affiliate the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have been mainly responsible for the demolition of Babri Mosque.
The RSS, VHP and BJP combine, apart from being responsible for generating a new wave of Hindu revivalism, is also at the forefront of a campaign to demolish some 3,000 mosques in India, which it claims were built on the sites of Hindu temples. The dispute over Babri Mosque was raised on a similar premise. It erupted in 1984, when the VHP took up the cause of liberating what it called the Ram Janam Bhoomi. The Hindus claimed that the site marked the birth place of their god incarnate, Lord Rama. They argued that there used to be a temple at the site before the Mughal emperor Babur demolished it in the 16th century to erect a mosque in its place. The contention was challenged by the Muslims who also claimed ownership of the site. The mosque which had remained closed since 1949 was opened for Hindu devotees in 1986, in compliance with an order of the Faizabad district judge.
The decision led the Muslims to form Babri Masjid Action Committee to save the mosque from Hindu extremists as well as to fight for its ownership. The controversy took an alarming turn in 1989 when both the Hindus and the Muslims decided to occupy...
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