Nearly 27 Years After Hindu Mob Destroyed A Mosque, The Scars In India Remain Deep

justin-trudeau-taj mahal

PM Justin Trudeau and family in front of Taj Mahal, which is not only a symbol for India but also for the Muslim heritage.  Trudeau is best known for his pluralistic vision for Canada

Source: NPR

At 80, Syed Ikhlaq Latifi’s face is lined and leathery, with a stark white beard. But he’s still able to scramble up three flights of stairs to his roof to describe what he watched from there, in horror, nearly 30 years ago.

On Dec. 6, 1992, a mob broke through barricades around the Babri Masjid, a 16th century mosque in Latifi’s hometown of Ayodhya in northern India. He points to where the mosque’s three massive stone domes used to be. It’s now an open, dusty lot, as wide as a football field, lined with barbed wire.

The mosque was built when India was ruled by the Mughals — Muslim emperors. They built thousands of mosques, forts and other landmarks all over northern India, including the country’s most famous: the Taj Mahal, which houses the tomb of the emperor Shah Jahan’s favorite wife.

On that terrible day in 1992, Latifi couldn’t recognize the men in the mob. They were mostly strangers from out of town, he says.

“They climbed on top of the domes and tombs. They were carrying hammers and these three-pronged spears from Hindu scripture. They started hacking at the mosque,” Latifi recalls. “By night, it was destroyed, and they set fire to nearby houses.”

Latifi watched as flames lit up the night sky. Then he and his family fled for their lives.

In riots that followed, thousands of people, mostly Muslims, were killed across India. When Latifi returned to his neighborhood about six weeks after he fled, he found his home — along with an adjacent small mosque and Islamic community center — vandalized and burned. He managed to salvage the small mosque’s damaged minarets from the rubble and rebuild.

To watch the Babri mosque’s destruction, Latifi says, was shocking. But he also says he wasn’t surprised.

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1 reply

  1. Scars run deep, so why keep picking at old wounds, then ? I understand it is good to know the wrongs of history, but, when you see and read these old news stories every time one turns on the computer or buys a newspaper, you push the unstable people over the edge, and aggravate others. This is why Jesus, God’s Son, hammered the point about forgiving and forgetting and have understanding. Forgiveness is a highly advanced sociological concept, and, Jesus taught His apostles and the world this for a reason, it brings about peace…….Understanding means knowledge of history, human psychology, sociology, and human weaknesses,etc. We are to use this to be a defendant for those that have done wrong, even if it that wrong was done to us. It clears the air, somehow. Quit digging-up the hatchets, this is why the evil goes around and around, all over the world. Journalist, editors, media owners, politicians, academics better start changing their tune, you have caused much damage, you are inciting violence and keeping old grudges alive.

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