In an atmosphere of jubilation, thousands of Indians clad in saffron garments and waving flags gathered in Ayodhya, counting down to the much-anticipated opening of a grand temple dedicated to Lord Ram. The ceremony, seen as a historic event for India’s Hindu majority, precedes crucial elections as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party seeks a rare third term by May.
Subhead: Symbol of Unity: PM Modi Hails Ram Temple Construction as Instrument for National Harmony
Prime Minister Modi expressed that the construction of the Ram Temple serves as an instrument to unite the nation, as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fulfills a 35-year-old promise. The contentious temple, a longstanding political issue, played a significant role in propelling the BJP to power. The site’s history, marked by a 1992 Hindu mob destroying a mosque, triggered nationwide riots.
Subhead: Supreme Court Verdict Resolves Decades-Long Dispute Over Ayodhya Site
After decades of dispute, the Supreme Court in 2019 allocated the site to Hindus, ordering a separate plot for Muslims to construct a new mosque. Monday’s ceremony, set to commence at 12:20 p.m. (0650 GMT), will unveil the 51-inch tall black stone deity amid rituals concluding consecration ceremonies that began over a week ago.
Subhead: High Security as Dignitaries and Thousands Attend Invitation-Only Ceremony
With nearly 8,000 attendees, including business leaders, celebrities, and sports personalities, security has been heightened in Ayodhya. Over 10,000 police personnel are deployed to ensure a smooth and secure event, with Modi set to open the temple on Tuesday to the public, expecting at least 100,000 visitors daily in the initial months.
Subhead: Nationwide Celebration as Modi Declares Day Similar to Diwali
As the consecration sparks religious fervor, states across India have declared a holiday, stock markets are closed, and homes and businesses are illuminated. Modi’s call to mark the day as another Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, has contributed to the grandeur of the event.