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India’s Ayodhya Ram Mandir temple inaugurated by Modi

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Yogi Adityanath greets people ahead of the inauguration of the temple of the Hindu god Ram in Ayodhya, India, on January 22.
Yogi Adityanath greets people ahead of the inauguration of the temple of the Hindu god Ram in Ayodhya, India, on January 22. Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP

The chief minister of Uttar Pradesh state, where Ayodhya is located, has called the Ram Mandir India’s “national temple” and one that celebrates the country’s “pride.”

“Indian society maintained restraint, but the resolve for a temple kept growing stronger,” Yogi Adityanath, the controversial monk-turned-politician told thousands of guests outside the Ram Mandir. “Now everyone wants to come to Ayodhya.”
“This is the victory of public faith and public trust, the re-establishment of India’s pride… The establishment of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi is an important ritual of cultural reawakening of India. This is a national temple.”

Adityanath has governed India’s most populous state since 2017, when the Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appointed him leader after claiming victory in state polls that year.

But the appointment of Adityanath, a Hindu priest, indicated to some experts that it was yet another sign of the BJP’s Hindutva ideology – which strives to make secular India the land of the Hindus.

Adityanath has since become one of the country’s more polarizing political figures.

Since he took office, the state has already passed legislation that, critics say, is rooted in Hindutva ideology. It has protected cows, an animal considered sacred to Hindus, from slaughter, and made it increasingly difficult to transport cattle.

Adityanath has been a vocal advocate for the construction of the Ram Temple and attended the consecration ceremony inside the building.

Meanwhile, the chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the right-wing parent organization of the BJP, declared the temple “has become a symbol of a new India that will stand tall.”

“It has been said, and we know, that today in Ayodhya, along with Lord Ram, India’s self has returned,” RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said in a speech.

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