Hindus and Muslims march together 17 years after the destruction of the Ayodhya mosque
Lucknow (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Hindus and Muslims will march together at Ayodhya on the 17th anniversary of the destruction of the Babri Masjid mosque, razed to the ground by thousands of Hindu militants on December 6, 1992.
The city of Uttar Pradesh is one of the holy places of Hinduism, but also a symbol of religious extremism and political violence. Ayodhya in 1992 was the scene of one of the bloodiest attacks on the Muslim presence in India. Approximately 150 thousand militant Hindus from the Sangh Parivar organization levelled the place of Islamic worship. It was the culmination of a Hindu campaign who claimed ownership of the land on which the Babri Masjid stood. Unrest stemmed from the assault that killed more than 2 thousand people, the majority Muslims.
The facts of Ayodhya are still cause for debate and confrontation. The report of the Government Commission on the matter - which was presented recently - has sparked heated political controversy (see AsiaNews.it, 25/11/2009, "BJP leaders blamed for the destruction of the Ayodhya mosque”). For many, the anniversary is a dhikkar diwas, a day of condemnation, or even a Kalanke diwas, a day of protest.
But tomorrow, representatives of the Muslim and Hindu communities will remember all the events of 17 years ago. M A Siddiqui, president of the All India United Muslim Morcha (Aiumm) explains that the march will "send a message of peace and harmony." It will be accompanied by moments of discussion and inter-religious prayer for a number of initiatives which will end December 12 in Ajmer Shareef.
The promoters represent different symbols of the Hindu and Muslim world who wish to demonstrate against extremism masked as motivated by religious reasons. "The basic objective - says Siddiqui - is to tell the people that this is the right time to take initiatives and address crucial issues such as development."