Some 200,000 people participated in a rally in New Delhi on Sunday, December 9, calling for the ruling government and Supreme Court to authorize the construction of a Hindu temple on the ruins of a destroyed 16th-century mosque in Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh state). Some demonstrators reportedly shouted anti-Muslim chants during the demonstration amid a heightened security presence. Similar demonstrations are possible ahead of general elections in April or May 2019, as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and allied Hindu groups have stoked demand for the construction of the temple in the lead-up to the elections. Transportation disruptions are to be expected near demonstration sites.
This year marks the 26th anniversary of the destruction of the Babri Masjid. In 1992, Hindu activists tore down the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, sparking violent protests which led to the deaths of around 2000 people. According to Hindus, the site is the birthplace of Rama, a Hindu deity.
Individuals in India, particularly in New Delhi and Ayodhya, are advised to monitor the situation, avoid related public gatherings, and adhere to instructions issued by the local authorities.
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