By Annisa Essack
Modis’ landslide victory, yesterday, has instilled a sense of fear and foreboding among Muslims in India.
It has also brought with it a sense of resignation among Muslims, some of whom are now willing to concede to the demand for a Hindu temple at the site of a razed mosque.
Many Hindus believe Babri Mosque razed in 1992 in the town of Ayodhya was built on the birthplace of Lord Ram, a physical incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. They also point to evidence there was a temple there before the mosque was built in 1528.
The destruction of the mosque by a Hindu mob had led to riots that killed about 2,000 people across the country.
Many Muslims, who spoke to media, say that they are fine with the construction of the Hindu temple on the grounds, however, many also say that they will remain resentful should the construction take place on what they call the “martyred mosque.”
Haji Mahboob, a Muslim community leader who lives close to the site of the 16th-century mosque said, “We congratulate the prime minister and urge him to ensure that Muslims don't get to suffer any longer.” He added, “There's no denying that there's a sense of resignation among millions of Muslims who fear further alienation. For us, the issue of the temple is like the sword of Damocles. Let the temple come up. We need to get over it."
Ahmad, a litigant in a case seeking to preserve the Muslim claim to the site where the mosque once stood, said Muslims in Ayodhya would not oppose the temple in a bid to keep the peace.
And many other Muslims agreed. "For the sake of peace and development, we've decided to support the idea of the temple," said Ashraf Jalal, the Imam of Ayodhya.
Zafaryab Jilani, a secretary of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board and a lawyer in the legal case over the site, said he would only go by the verdict of the Supreme Court. "There’s no question of surrendering our claim over the site,” he said.
In its’ election manifesto, the BJP says it would "explore all possibilities within the framework of the constitution and all necessary efforts to facilitate the expeditious construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya."
Hindu groups say they will push for Modi to accept their demands which include the construction of the Ram temple on the Ayodhya site, life in jail for killing cows – considered sacred by many Hindus – and ending the remaining vestiges of autonomy of India-administered Kashmir.
Currently, a court-appointed panel is arbitrating the temple dispute. The panel is likely to give its views to the court by August 15, when its term ends.