19 years ago on December 6, Hindu extremists stormed a historic mosque and razed it. It was the trigger for India’s worst religious riots since its partition in 1949.
The destruction of the Babri Masjid Mosque triggered religious riots
On December 6, 1992, Hindu extremists stormed the Babri Masjid Mosque that was built in 1528 in Ayodhya, India, and destroyed it.
The religious zealots razed the mosque because it is on a site where they believed a Hindu temple dating back to the 11th-century was located. Legend has it that the Hindu god Ram was born there.
The incident triggered communal violence across the country, which resulted in the death of more than 2,000 people. The fact that the complex was called Masjid-i-Janmasthaan (Mosque of the Birthplace) until the 1940s also shows how important the site is for both religions.
Muslims raise a black flag to mark the anniversary of the demolition of Babri Masjid
Controversial court case
In September, 2010, an Indian high court passed a verdict to divide the site and the surrounding area into three parts – two parts were to go to the Hindu, one part to the Muslim, organizations fighting in the case.
The controversial ruling led members from both religious communities to write petitions demanding the site be given to one or the other completely. The verdict was subsequently suspended in May, 2011, by the Supreme Court, and the case remains there still unresolved.
India has seen other religious conflicts between Hindus and Muslims in past years, such as the clashes in Gujarat in 2002 which killed more than 1,000, mostly Muslims. 80 percent of the Indian population are Hindu and 13 Muslim.
Author: Sarah Berning (PTI, AFP)
Editor: Gregg Benzow