PM Modi of India opens the Ayodhya Ram Mandir, a Hindu temple on the site of the destroyed Babri mosque

The Hindu god Ram has a magnificent temple that Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi has dedicated in the volatile city of Ayodhya. He claimed it signaled “a new era” for India, since the temple stands in for the 16th-century mosque that Hindu rioters destroyed in 1992, setting off rioting that claimed almost 2,000 lives. Among the attendees of the Ayodhya ceremony were famous actors and cricket players. However, the majority of the opposition and some Hindu seers boycotted it, claiming that Mr. Modi was utilizing it for political purposes.

In the next months, India will hold general elections. According to Mr. Modi’s political opponents, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will run for office on the temple’s name in a nation where 80% of people identify as Hindu. The government has also come under fire for allegedly taking advantage of a religious holiday in a secular nation as defined by the constitution. Muslims, the largest minority in India, told the BBC in the lead-up to Monday’s ceremony that the occasion brought back bad memories and terror.

It was shown live on television and featured Mr. Modi conducting religious rites inside the temple’s inner chamber with priests and Mohan Bhagwat, the leader of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which is the ideological forerunner of Hindu nationalist groups. “Today’s date will go down in history,” Mr. Modi declared following the occasion. “Lord Ram has come home after many years of hardship and sacrifice. I would like to extend my congratulations to each and every national on this momentous occasion.” The $217 million (£170 million) cost of building the temple was covered by individual donations. As of now, only the ground floor has been opened; the remaining floors should be finished by year’s end. The construction project is a component of the city’s planned $3 billion makeover.

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