India India: in Ayodhya, Narendra Modi lays the first stone of the temple of Ram
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Religion and politics are united in India today. The prime minister has just laid the foundation stone for the construction of the Ram temple in the northern city of Ayodhya. He will rise to the most contested place in modern Indian history, where Hindus illegally destroyed an ancient mosque, claiming it to be Ram's birthplace. For Hindu nationalists, this is a huge political victory.
From our correspondent in New Delhi, Sébastien Farcis
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There are five on the platform of this long-awaited ceremony: a priest, the governor and the head of the government of Uttar Pradesh, the head of the Hindu organization of, and Narendra Modi.
It is the Prime Minister of India, who is the main actor, and who sends the offerings into the hole which will accommodate the foundations of the temple of Ram. Dressed in saffron, the color of Hinduism and thus offering all the blessing of the state during this purely religious event. Narendra Modi, send a clear message:is today a temple of the Republic.
“This ceremony obliterates any separation between religion and state. The god Ram is no longer a god, but is converted into a symbol of Indian nationalism. All Indians who belong to religious minorities or who are opposed to this vision will no longer have a say in the matter, ”analyzes Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, author specializing in Hindu nationalism.
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The Hindus have been asking for a temple of Ram at this place for 50 years. The government assures that it will be completed in about 3 years, just before the next parliamentary elections.
• A controversial temple
The construction of this temple is a strong political and religious gesture for this emblematic site of Hindu nationalism and it comes on the first anniversary of the forcible revocation of the special autonomy status enjoyed by Indian Kashmir.
“It's been decades now that the Hindu Nationalist Party inscribed some great symbolic acts in its program: the abolition of the last margins of autonomy of Kashmir, it was done exactly one year ago. The second great symbol was to be able to build in Ayodhya, one of the holy cities of Hinduism in the Ganges valley, a monumental temple to the god Ram on the site of a mosque which had been partly destroyed by Hindu nationalist militants in 1992 ”, explains Jean-Luc Racine, research director at CNRS and major specialist in India.
For supporters of the Hindu nationalist, this mosque, known as the Mosque of Babur, was built in the 16th century on the ruins of a temple which is said to have marked Ram's birthplace.
“The rise of Hindu nationalism as a political force, the rise of the BJP, began precisely with marches across India in 1992 to converge on this symbolic site. It is a political triumph for his supporters, which Narendra Modi can display today, "said Jean-Luc Racine.
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