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Thursday, 21 March, 2002, 23:05 GMT
The Ayodhya dispute: What should the government do?
Once again a disputed holy site in the town of Ayodhya has become the central issue in Indian politics.

The destruction of a mosque there in 1992 by Hindu hardliners wanting to build a temple prompted nationwide communal rioting that left 2,000 people dead.

The hardliners still want to be allowed to go ahead with their temple plan - although they have so far avoided a direct confrontation with the authorities over the issue.

The latest build-up in tensions comes as the state of Gujarat is still recovering from Hindu-Muslim violence in which more than 700 people died.

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee says he will uphold the court order barring Hindu hardliners from holding prayers at the site.

Is this the right course of action? What should the government do to end the Ayodhya dispute?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Your reaction

Build the temple and be done with it - bring closure to this case. It is sad that a country with 82% Hindus has to fight to build a Hindu temple.
Tom, USA


Giving access to the site to one religion over another will never work

Rob Elwell, Wisconsin, USA
Such a beautiful country with so many unfortunate disputes. I believe that the site should either become a public park or a monument to Mahatma Gandhi one of the individuals who dedicated his life to try and unite Indians together - Hindu, Muslim, Jain, etc. Giving access to the site to one religion over another will never work and only lead to more senseless death and destruction.
Rob Elwell, Wisconsin, USA

Even though I couldn't care less if they decide to build a temple or a mosque, I feel that this might be a great opportunity for Indian Muslims who are no less patriotic than Indian Hindus and who have long complained that they had always been viewed with suspicion and their loyalties challenged, to show their magnanimity and win the good will of the Hindus who, in turn should offer to build an even better Mosque than the desolate one that stood in that place.
Vivek, Indian (USA)

Is this what the world's largest democracy is all about? Perhaps, the political establishment needs to look deeper and decide once and for all whether it wants to be a secular state or not.
Bilal, Canada


The Indian government should build a hospital or a school on that site

Yahya, USA
The Indian government should build a hospital or a school on that site. Anything to bury the controversy. Enough blood has been shed. India must be able to retain its Gandhian principles. VHP, Shiv Sena and Bajrang are the new face of fascism. India must do what it can to protect its liberal democracy from the onslaught of these forces.
Yahya, USA

The government has no choice but to uphold the rule of law. However it is time for the Indian government to conclusively determine if indeed a temple existed at the site and at other disputed sites. If the answer is yes, then the very least the government should do is acknowledge that these temples were destroyed. Indians of all faiths must learn to face upto the past. Otherwise there will be no genuine reconciliation.
Srinath, India

The government should realize that a mandir or masjid is not going to help the 600 million starving Indians. Its sick, how these politicians bank on issues that do nothing for the country. As for now, the government has to make sure that no more senseless violence erupts from people that are on the payroll of the BJP/VHP/RSS. Innocent civilians have been butchered to death, and they are running scot-free around the country.

Indians all over the world, this is the time to show our support to our democratic principles. For the future, the place should be a monument to symbolize peace and tolerance. India is diverse, democratic, and secular, and it will stay this way; there are enough of us in this world that will challenge the right wing agendas of the BJP, RSS, and the VHP.
Qhamer, INDIA/USA


Any religious rhetoric that incites fervour should be harshly punished

Faizal Tamton, U.S.A
No mosque is divine. But who holds the rights to the land? Muslims, then the question is settled; Hindus cannot build on the site. Having said that, let me say that most of the educated masses of India are not concerned either way. But as long as leaders like LK Advani and Muslim league radical leaders are alive, the state of India is doomed. The government should weed out leaders from RSS, VHP and Muslim League. Any religious rhetoric that incites fervour should be harshly punished - leaders un-democratically dealt with.
Faizal Tamton, U.S.A (non resident Indian - Muslim)

India is a place that assimilates cultures, and there are so many different ideologies and lines of thoughts that many people differentiate between Hinduism as a religion that most people follow and Hinduism as a culture that identifies India as a nation. The judges who passed the judgements against the fanatic Hindus recently, or the Army that brought the situation under control in Gujarat, consist mostly of Hindus.

The solution that I propose is essentially a compromise for both sides, unique to the Indian setting. I do not see a better formula to end the dispute. Allow Hindus to build their majestic temple in the disputed site and at the same time also build a mosque at an adjacent site. After all, Ayodhya is to Hindus what Mecca is to Muslims. Both places of worship should be built with active help from people from both communities. All disputes of similar nature, there are many of them, should be deemed frozen. I believe as a nation India will learn from its mistakes, and people will ultimately come out stronger.
Ashish Kumar, India/USA

I just want to say that Hindus will always be against us, and whenever they have an opportunity, they will try to eat us up, so that is the reason behind this tragedy, this was the reason we wanted independence, because our quaid knew about Hindus and their narrow mindedness.
Jawwadatique, Pakistan

I guess the government should abide by the court decision and at the same time have both parties come to an amicable solution.
Aliasgar Zirapury, USA


I hope that the Indian government can solve the problem peacefully

Mohamed, Somalia
I want to ask Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to consider what I say: If you recognize the right of Hindu people to build their own temple, can he recognize the right of Kashmir Muslims to independence? Or when some Hindu people tried to demolish the Mosque, does he consider the India Muslims as foreigners, colonial invaders? He should recognize the right of Kashmir Muslims to independence in turn for building a temple for Hindu people. If he is a prime minister, he should be secular because there are different religions including Buddha, Hindu, and Islam. The India government should consider the right of Kashmir Muslims to independence in turn for building a temple. I hope that the Indian government can solve the problem peacefully. I hope that Muslims and Hindu people are in peace. Please avoid dangerous religions because of a religious war.
Mohamed, Somalia

I have seen with my own eyes how Muslim and Arab invaders destroyed Hindu, Jain and Buddhist temples throughout India. If Muslims allow Hindus to rebuild a temple in Ayodhya, it will serve as a great example of compassion and giving back. But an emotional issue like this has to be decided by Muslims. I personally feel Hindus will only be happy to help rebuild the destroyed mosque by this gesture.
Naren Jain, Bangalore, India

Allow each major religion in India to build a shrine at the site, which should be named "Inter-faith Peace Park".
Arjun, Canada

To be honest, there will always be such disputes. Some states of India should hand over to the Muslims such as Kashmir etc, so that they can live lives of their own.
Abc, USA

Build both a new mosque and the temple on the site adjacent to the disputed land. They should leave the current site permanently off limits to both groups, because any action there would result in further bloodletting. Yet another reason why I am proud to be an atheist.
Simon, USA

Ayodhya special report

Ten years on

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07 Mar 02 | Country profiles
14 Mar 02 | South Asia
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