Muslims in Ayodhya face sadness and fear as the opening of the Ram Temple draws near

In the mostly Hindu village of Ayodhya, saffron flags are flying as enthusiastic residents get ready to welcome Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the opening of a brand-new, multimillion-dollar temple. However, 65-year-old Maulana Badshah Khan says he’ll be staying at home, like many of the 500,000 Muslims in the town. He worries that there could be another outburst of religious violence similar to what happened more than 30 years ago when Hindu nationalists demolished the Babri Masjid, a mosque from the 16th century, sparking nationwide rioting. The opulent Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir, which was constructed on the same location and is seen by some as a monument of Hindu nationalist desire, will be officially opened by Modi on Monday.

 

According to Khan, the celebration is an obvious indication of how Muslims are being excluded under Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership. The scars from the destruction of the Babri Mosque will never go away. Even though it makes us feel hopeless to express them, Khan added. The mosque is significant because it represents the Muslims’ position in New India.Ayodhya has extended an invitation to around 7,000 individuals to participate in the ceremony in person, including prominent lawmakers who are traveling from all over the country. Additionally, tens of thousands of devout Hindus are pouring into the tiny village to decorate the temple with gifts and flowers.

 

Amid the growing numbers, Muslims in Ayodhya are feeling uneasy. The 39-year-old leader of a local religious organization, Azam Qadri, stated that those who experienced the bloodshed in 1992 are afraid of foreigners coming. There is trouble every time someone enters from the outside. These days, one cannot afford to lose their identity documents, savings, or priceless possessions. Restarting your life is not an easy task,” he remarked. He stated that many Muslims thought the debate may end in 2019 after the Supreme Court gave Hindus permission to build the temple on the disputed location. However, emboldened Hindus started launching campaigns to demolish even more mosques across the nation.

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