Actor Rajinikanth and his wife Latha as well as actors Pawan Kalyan and Dhanush left for Ayodhya to attend the Ram temple inauguration scheduled to happen on Monday, January 22. Several celebrities including Chiranjeevi, Ram Charan, Mohanlal, Kangana Ranaut, Akshay Kumar, Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Virat Kohli, Anushka Sharma, among others, have been invited to take part in the Pran Pratishtha (temple consecration) event. The temple is being built at an estimated cost of Rs 1,800 crore.
Speaking to reporters at the airport, Rajinikanth said, “A dispute that has been going on for nearly 500 years has been put to an end following the Supreme Court’s verdict. The verdict has now been implemented. This is an unforgettable day in history.” He added that he expects the ceremony to be a grand affair and said he was extremely happy to attend it.
Rajini had visited the temple in Ayodhya along with his wife Latha last August too. The Superstar’s visit to Uttar Pradesh, however, turned controversial after the actor touched the feet of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Rajinikanth later clarified, “It is my habit to fall at the feet of sanyasis and yogis, even if they are younger than me. That is what I did.”
The temple inauguration will happen in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders, including UP CM Yogi Adityanath, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, UP Governor Anandiben Patel, and president of the temple trust Mahant Nritya Gopal Das. On January 18, the idol of Lord Ram was placed inside the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. The idol, weighing 1.5 tonnes, is 51 inches tall.
With nearly 8,000 VIP guests expected to attend the ceremony, the Uttar Pradesh Police have beefed up security in the temple town. Additional director general (ADG) Lucknow Zone Piyush Mordia said that they are maintaining a vigil with patrolling on the Saryu river being done through boats and drones.
Meanwhile, actor Kangana Ranaut has already reached Ayodhya. She was seen cleaning the premises of the Hanuman Garhi temple.
Babri Masjid, built in 1528 by Mir Baqi, commander of Mughal emperor Babur, 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.
A legal fight ensued in 1950 when Gopal Visharad Sharma approached the 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, 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.