Anniversary of Babri Mosque demolition to be observed

                By Ahmad Adil</p>    <p>NEW DELHI (AA) - Ahead of the 26th anniversary of the demolition of a 16th century mosque in Indian’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh, activists and political commentators say some Hindu nationalist parties would use the issue to consolidate their vote bank ahead of general elections.</p>    <p>“The Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), Shiv Sena and a few other minor parties will use the issue to get votes,” Satish Misra, a senior fellow at the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation, told Anadolu Agency.</p>    <p>On Dec. 6, 1992, Hindu nationalists gathered at the disputed site and destroyed the 16th-century mosque named after Mughal Emperor Babur. The destruction sparked nationwide riots that left around 2,000 people dead.</p>    <p>Since then, Muslims have been calling for building of a new mosque at the site, while Hindus have been demanding a temple, claiming their divine Lord Ram or Rama was born there.</p>    <p>Misra said that calls for building a temple is coming from Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its affiliated outfits like Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal, and there aim is “to consolidate Hindu votes in favor of the BJP and polarize the society on communal lines.”</p>    <p>&quot;These organizations that are close to the BJP want the Modi government to enact a law for building the Ram temple at the disputed site […] The RSS is playing Ram temple card so that its core vote does not go away from the BJP. In my assessment, this is not going to help the BJP much electorally but it is too early to say,&quot; she said.</p>    <p>Last month, thousands of Hindus nationalists gathered in the Ayodhya town to demand the construction of a temple at a site where 16th century Babri Mosque had once existed.</p>    <p>Brinda Adige, a Bengaluru-based social activist, told Anadolu Agency that some political parties are using this agenda to “polarize people” and to garner votes in the 2019 elections.</p>    <p>She maintains that “legal recourse continues to be the only hope.”</p>    <p>John Dayal, a New Delhi-based human rights and political activist, told Anadolu Agency that the BJP government has “failed miserably” to deliver promises that they had made ahead of previous elections.</p>    <p>Dayal recalled that several political analysts had predicted four years ago that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah will fall back on the Ram Temple rhetoric ahead of 2019 elections.</p>    <p>However, the BJP leaders said that they were planning to bring any ordinance “for now” for setting up a Temple in Ayodhya.</p>    <p>&quot;...but if people's aspirations keep increasing, the government will have to take a call on it [whether to bring ordinance or not]. As of now, the party is not thinking of bringing in an ordinance on construction of temple,&quot; BJP National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya told Press Trust of India, a local news agency.</p>  <p> </p>    <p>- Babri Mosque dispute</p>    <p>The Babri Mosque is said to have been built by Mughal Emperor Babur in 1526.</p>    <p>In 1885, a Hindu religious body filed a case in Faizabad court asking for permission to construct a temple to honor Ram inside the premises of the Babri Mosque. The permission was denied.</p>    <p>In 1949, a group of Hindus entered the premises of the mosque and installed an idol of Ram there. The idol was not removed and it was locked by the administration. However, an official and a Hindu priest were given charge to look after the place.</p>    <p>In 1986, the district administration of Faizabad, under which Ayodhya city comes, opened the premises to Hindus, allowing them to carry out their rituals.</p>  <p> </p>  <p>The situation remained calm until December 1992, when thousands of activists belonging to extremist Hindu groups and political parties along with BJP leaders entered Babri Mosque and demolished it.</p>    <p>The case over the dispute has been languishing in India’s legal system for years without any final outcome. The Indian Supreme Court, which is now hearing the case, has set the next date of hearing in January 2019.