Triumph for Modi’s BJP as Indian holy site awarded to Hindus
NEW DELHI, Nov 9: India's top court handed a huge victory to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party on Saturday by awarding Hindus control of a bitterly disputed holy site that has sparked deadly sectarian violence in the past.
Police were on alert across India while officials and volunteers scoured social media for inflammatory posts. Internet access was suspended in the city of Aligarh, home to a large Muslim minority.
Devout Hindus believe that Lord Ram, the warrior god, was born in Ayodhya some 7,000 years ago but a mosque was constructed on top of his birthplace in the 16th century.
Modi's BJP has campaigned for years for a temple at Ayodhya, and the verdict will delight the prime minister's supporters just months into his second term. But it will also send shudders through some in the 200-million-strong Muslim minority.
The BJP owes its origins to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a militaristic group that has long espoused "Hindutva", or Hindu hegemony in officially secular India.
Under Modi, a former RSS cadre, Islamic-sounding names of several cities have been changed, while some school textbooks have been altered to downplay Muslims' contributions to India. -AFP