Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged the public not to visit Ayodhya on January 22 for inauguration of the Ram Temple. "As bhakts, we would not like to cause any problems to Lord Ram. You all can come starting January 23 till eternity. Ram Mandir is now there forever and ever," Prime Minister Modi said on Saturday, December 30. He also asked everyone to light a lamp in their house on January 22.
The Prime Minister said that "Ram Lalla has got a new permanent home" in the form of the Ram temple in Ayodhya after "spending years in a tent". He said that houses have been constructed for both Ram and four crore poor people of the country. Prime Minister Modi also said that the government is taking steps to improve connectivity to Ayodhya from several places in the country.
He made the remarks after inaugurating the Ayodhya Dham railway station and Maharishi Valmiki International Airport. The Prime Minister also flagged off eight new train routes on the day.
Addressing a public event in Ayodhya, Prime Minister Modi said, "December 30 has been a very historical date in the history of the country. On this day in 1943, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose hoisted the flag in Andaman and proclaimed the Independence of India."
He further said that if any country wants to reach new levels of development, it has to preserve its heritage. Prime Minister Modi said that today’s India is an "amalgam of the old and the new". "We are moving ahead in the digital age and are also preserving our heritage. Development must come with preservation of heritage and carry forward Viksit Bharat," he pointed out.
The Prime Minister added that the completion of the Ram temple is a moment that the world was waiting and the excitement is palpable on the streets of Ayodhya.
The Ram Temple has been built on the same grounds that Babri Masjid once stood. Babri Masjid, built by Mir Baqi, commander of Mughal emperor Babur in 1528, was demolished by kar sevaks belonging to Hindu majoritarian outfits on December 6, 1992. The demolition, which happened as a result of a concerted Ram Janmabhoomi movement, resulted in communal riots over months, which led to over 2,000 deaths. The Babri Masjid has been a contested site since 1885 as religious leaders and Hindutva outfits considered it Ram Janambhoomi or the birthplace of Lord Ram in Ayodhya.
A legal fight ensued in 1950 when Gopal Visharad Sharma approached Faizabad district court for the right to worship idols of Ram Lalla, which were placed there in 1949. On September 30, 2010, the High Court, in a 2:1 majority, ruled a three-way division of the disputed area between the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
Nine years later, in 2019, the Supreme Court granted the entire 2.77 acres of disputed land to deity Ram Lalla and directed the Uttar Pradesh government to allot five acres of land to Muslims for building a mosque. Though the Supreme Court referred to the mosque's demolition as "an egregious violation of the rule of law," the verdict was criticised for accepting the logic of "faith over fact" and granting legal possession of land to those responsible for the demolition.