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India: Babri mosque settlement project to start Jan 26

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A construction project in India’s northern city of Ayodhya as part of the settlement of the case surrounding the 1992 demolition of the Babri mosque will formally begin on Jan. 26, India’s Republic Day, the trust responsible for the project said late Sunday.

According to a press statement, the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation (IICF) Trust said a meeting was conducted to discuss the progress of the trust’s activity. It said at 8.30 a.m. on Republic Day, the national flag will be hoisted on the five-acre plot of the Dhannipur Mosque Project followed by the planting of tree saplings.

A decades-long dispute pertaining to a 16th-century mosque in the state of Uttar Pradesh that was torn down in 1992 by Hindu hardliners who claimed the site was the birthplace of one of their gods, Lord Ram, was settled in November 2019 when the Supreme Court ruled that a temple can be built at the site.

Read more: India: Alternate mosque design unveiled in Babri case

The court also ordered the allotment of five acres of land to the government-controlled Sunni Central Waqf Board to build a new mosque. Subsequently, the board announced the formation of the IICF to execute the construction.

“It was decided that the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation will be celebrating the Republic Day of India this year with the start of the Dhannipur Mosque Project, which includes a hospital, museum, library, community kitchen, Indo-Islamic Cultural Research Center, a publication house and a mosque,” IICF secretary Athar Hussain said in the statement.

He said on Jan. 26, there will be “a national flag hoisting ceremony followed by the plantation of tree saplings by Member Trustees and the Chief Trustee of the IICF.”

Jan. 26 is celebrated as Republic Day in India, the day when India’s Constitution came into effect.

“The formal start of the project should be by plantation of tree saplings on 5 acres of land. As envisaged in the project, a green area, which will have plants from all over the world — from the Amazon rainforest to areas having bushfires in Australia — and from all different geographical regions of India will be developed to create awareness on the imminent threat of climate change,” the statement said.

While the trust has now announced plans to construct a mosque, Muslim leaders in India say the decision is not acceptable to the Muslim community.

Read more: Op-Ed: Demolition of Babri Mosque is an act of Hindu revenge

In November 2019, India’s top court ruled that the historical site of the early 16th-century Babri mosque will be handed over to Hindus for construction of the Ram temple.

The Indian Supreme Court then also ruled that a “suitable plot” of land measuring 5 acres would be allotted to the government-controlled Sunni Waqf Board either by the central government or the provincial government to construct a mosque.

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk

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