The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) — a 57-member bloc of Muslim countries — on Tuesday denounced the construction and inauguration of the “Ram Temple” built on the site of the five-century-old Babri Masjid in India’s Ayodhya.
In a statement issued on social media platform X on Tuesday, the OIC expressed “grave worry” over the construction and inauguration of the temple at the site of the razed Babri Masjid.
“In line with the OIC position expressed by the Council of Foreign Ministers in its previous sessions, the General Secretariat denounces these actions aimed at obliterating the Islamic landmarks represented by the Babri Mosque, which has stood tall in the exact location for five centuries,” it said.
At a grand event attended by some 7,000 guests on Monday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi consecrated the idol of Lord Ram at the new temple built on the site where the Babri Masjid stood for centuries before it was demolished by a Hindutva mob in 1992.
The demolition had triggered the worst religious riots in India since independence in 1947 — killing 2,000 people, most of them Muslims — and shook the foundations of the country’s officially secular political order.
But for Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the opening of the Ram Mandir was a landmark moment in a decades-long campaign to align the country’s governance with its majority faith.
The temple has been a contentious issue that helped catapult the BJP to prominence and power, and delivers on its 35-year-old promise, which analysts say should help Modi as he seeks a rare third term in an election due by May.
On Monday, Pakistan condemned the grand celebrations and described the temple’s inauguration as a “symbol of growing majoritarianism and an affront to the Muslim community in India”.
The developments of the last 31 years in India, leading to the consecration ceremony, are “indicative of growing majoritarianism in India”, the Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson had said in a statement.
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Calling the new temple “a blot on the face of India’s democracy”, the FO had also expressed concerns over the future of other mosques in the country, including the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi and the Shahi Eidgah Mosque in Mathura that are also facing threats of desecration and destruction.
“The United Nations and other relevant international organisations should play their part in saving the Islamic heritage sites in India from extremist groups and ensuring the protection of the religious and cultural rights of the minorities in India,” the FO spokesperson had said.
Pakistan also urged the Indian government to ensure the safety and security of religious minorities, including Muslims and their holy places.
The inauguration was also met with criticism in India, levelled by opposition parties over turning the event into a grand spectacle and the “state-sponsored assault” on the pan-India peace march headed by Congress’ Rahul Gandhi in the BJP-ruled Assam state.