New temple blot on the face of India democracy: FO

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan condemned the grand celebrations and described it as a “symbol of growing majoritarianism and an affront to the Muslim community in India”, as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi heralded the inauguration of a temple in Ayodhya as a “new era” for India on Monday.

At a grand event attended by some seven thousand guests, Mr Modi consecrated the idol of Lord Ram at the new temple built on the site where the Babri Masjid stood for centuries before it was demolished by a Hindutva mob in 1992.

The developments of the last 31 years in India, leading to today’s consecration ceremony, are “indicative of growing majoritarianism in India”, the Foreign Office said in a statement.

“These constitute an important facet of the ongoing efforts for social, economic and political marginalisation of the Indian Muslims”.

The statement added that the inauguration “symbolises the rise of Hindu nationalism” and reflects the political and religious aspirations of BJP and its supporters.

“The construction of the temple on such a historically disputed site underscores the ongoing transformation in India’s religious and cultural landscape, heavily influenced by the BJP’s ideology.”

The statement also expressed concerns over the state of minorities in India, adding that the inauguration has “intensified concerns about the treatment of Muslims in India”.

It said the reports of discrimination and violence against Muslims are linked with Hindu nationalism and “raises significant questions about the future of secularism and minority rights in India”.

Calling the new temple “a blot on the face of India’s democracy”, the FO expressed concerns over the future of other mosques in the country, including the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi and the Shahi Eidgah Mosque in Mathura that are also facing threats of desecration and destruction.

The statement called on Delhi to ensure the safety and security of its religious minorities and their holy places.

It also urged the international community, including the UN, to take notice of the increasing Islamophobia, hate speech, and hate crimes in India and take action to protect Islamic heritage sites.

In Ayodhya, Mr Modi participated in the consecration ceremony with Mohan Bhagwat, the head of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the fountainhead of Hindutva groups that razed the Babri Masjid to build the temple at the site.

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