India: Construction of alternate Babri Mosque begins despite objections

27th Jan 2021
India: Construction of alternate Babri Mosque begins despite objections

By Ahmad Adil

 

NEW DELHI (AA): The groundbreaking ceremony for the alternate Babri Mosque was held Tuesday in Ayodhya in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

A flag hoisting ceremony and a tree plantation drive was held to mark the official start of its construction. The Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation Trust will oversee the project that has drawn mixed emotions among Indian Muslims.

A decades-long bloody dispute ensued after the 16th-century Babri Mosque in the state of Uttar Pradesh was torn down by Hindu hardliners in 1992, who claimed the site was the birthplace of one of their gods, Lord Ram.

In November 2019, India’s top court ruled that a temple can be built at the site, and ordered the allotment of a separate piece of land for the construction of another mosque in place of the Babri Mosque.

“The process of construction has officially started today on Republic Day. Soil testing was also conducted at the site,” Athar Hussain, secretary of the trust, told Anadolu Agency.

While the project has officially commenced, the full-fledged construction will begin once the trust receives all necessary clearances, said Hussain.

Other than the mosque, the trust is also constructing a hospital, museum, library, community kitchen, an Indo-Islamic cultural research centre, and a publication house at the site.

The new project, however, is not widely accepted by the people, community representatives say.

“The mosque which has been announced by the trust is against the Shariah because mosques or land of mosques cannot be bartered,” Secretary of All India Muslim Personal Law Board Zafaryab Jilani told Anadolu Agency.

President of Muslim Political Council of India Tasleem Rehmani told Anadolu Agency they do not support the idea of constructing another mosque. “No one supports the idea and also no one from the community is with them. They can make anything whatever they want.”

The trust members, however, maintain that they have received overwhelming response from the people.

“I find very few people [opposing] it. The response is overwhelming and 99.9% of the people are supporting this project,” said Hussain.

[Photo: A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the mosque to be built in village of Dhannipur, 25km away from Babri Mosque, which was built in India in 1528 and was destroyed by extreme Hindu nationalists in 1992.  Chief Trustee of  the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation (IICF) seen planting tree for the mosque complex to be built on 26 January 2021. Phototographer ICCF/AA]

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