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The BJP-led governments at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh are in a jubilant mood — despite the Covid-linked depression that the nation is facing. The jubilation is on account of the Shilanyas scheduled for Wednesday for the Ram Temple that will be built on what was a disputed land. The area where the ancient Babri Masjid stood will now see the rise of a temple in the name of Lord Ram, reinforcing the belief that it was here that the mythical Hindu deity was born. The campaign for the Ram Temple will culminate in the grand event with the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat et al on the dais.
Obviously, the event might not witness a huge presence in view of the Covid-linked restrictions. Yet, this is a moment when the ruling party has fulfilled its long-held promise of constructing the Ram Temple. The December 1992 demolition led by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad was also a dark moment in the history of India. The riots that swept through several north-Indian states killed nearly 2,500 people and its shadow is still evident in India’s social and religious lives. The cases are still ongoing on this issue.
Notably, August 5 is also the day, last year, when the BJP-led government at the Centre did away with the Special Status for Jammu and Kashmir and turned it into three Union Territories. Life has not returned to normal in the Valley so far, but the government has been better able to handle civil strife in the Valley and beyond, while pro-Pakistani militants or terrorists have been largely neutralized.
While J&K and Ayodhya were the two major achievements of the Modi government in its second term, the communal overtones of these cannot be lost sight of. As the Shilanyas event takes place, credit is due to the Supreme Court for having effectively settled the long-pending Ayodhya dispute last year. Muslims who have been given a plot of land for construction of a mosque in Ayodhya, in return for what went into the hands of Hindus, are not fully satisfied but have opted for peace in the best interests of the nation.
This is time too to thank the Muslim community for having shown the broadmindedness to accept the SC-mediated settlement. Alongside, a helping hand to them from all sides including the two governments for the construction of the mosque is called for and will be well-appreciated.