NEW DELHI: Two days before Parliament’s winter session begins, thousands of supporters and several right-wing units gathered at Ramlila Maidan in the national capital on Sunday for Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s rally to intensify pressure on the Centre over construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya.
Trident-waving devotees clad in saffron filled a huge parade ground in the Indian capital under tight security, where speakers warned Prime Minister Narendra Modi they would not let up until the temple was sanctioned.
Some of Modi’s supporters feel the Hindu nationalist leader has not done enough to raise a shrine at a site in Ayodhya, a city believed by many to be the birthplace of the deity Ram.
Sharad Sharma, spokesman for the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a group that has close ties with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said Hindus want the government to fulfil its promise and demanded that a legislation should be introduce if need arises to pave the way for a temple.
“It’s an issue of faith for millions of Hindus who cannot endlessly wait for a temple at the birthplace of Lord Ram,” he was quoted by Reuters as saying.
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Demonstrators chanting “Praise be to Ram” packed the Ramlila Maidan, a vast ground capable of holding more than 50,000 people, and filled the surrounding streets.
Some carried maces and tridents — weapons traditionally wielded by Hindu gods — and travelled great distances by train and bus to reach the rally.
The site was home to a medieval mosque for 460 years until Hindu zealots tore it down in 1992, kicking off riots across India that left thousands dead, most of them Muslims.
The Babri Masjid, built by Mughal emperor Babur in 1528 in Ayodhya was on December 6, 1992, pulled down allegedly by a group of Hindu activists, who claimed that the mosque was constructed after demolishing a Ram temple.
On October 29, the Supreme Court had adjourned the hearing in Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit till January 2019 to fix the next hearing date in the matter, challenging the Allahabad High Court ruling of 2010. Since then, several hearings have been held in the top court to resolve the issue.
The Allahabad High Court in its 2010 verdict had suggested the division of the disputed land in Ayodhya among all the three parties-Nirmohi Akhara, Sunni Waqf Board and Ram Lalla.