PRAYAGRAJ, India (Reuters) – A powerful Hindu priest said on Wednesday he would lead a group of followers to start building a Hindu temple on the ruins of a 16th-century mosque, which could violate a court order and raise religious tensions in an election year.
A Hindu mob leveled the mosque in 1992, sparking communal riots that killed about 2,000 people across India. The site, in the northern town of Ayodhya, has been the focus of dispute between majority Hindus and minority Muslims for many years.
Hindu groups believe the site to be the birthplace of Lord Ram, one of the religion’s most revered deities. They also point to evidence there was a temple there before the mosque was built in 1528.