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A major development around 1986 in Ayodhya became central to the politics of BJP as a ‘Hindutva’ party? Explain it.

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A major development was the order by the Faizabad district court in February 1986. The court ordered that the Babri Masjid premises be unlocked so that Hindus could offer prayers at the site which they considered as a temple. A dispute had been going on for many decades over the mosque known as Babri Masjid at Ayodhya. The Babri Masjid was a 16th century mosque in Ayodhya, built by Mir Baqi, a general of Mughal emperor Babur. Some Hindus believe that it was built after demolishing a temple for Lord Rama in what is believed to be his birth place. The dispute took the form of a court case and has continued for many decades. In the late 1940s, the mosque was locked up as the matter was with court.

As soon as the Babri Masjid was opened mobilisation started on both sides. Many Hindu and Muslim organisations tried to mobilise their communities. Suddenly this local dispute became a major national issue and led to communal tensions. The BJP made this issue its major electoral and political plank. Along with many other organisations like the Rashtriya Swemsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), it convened a series of symbolic and mobilisational programmes. This large scale mobilisation led to surcharged atmosphere and many instances of communal violence. The BJP, in order to generate public support, took out a massive march called the Rathyatra from Somnath in Gujarat to Ayodhya in UP.

In December 1992, the organisations supporting the construciton of the temple had organised a Karseva, meaning voluntary service by the devotees, for building the Ram temple. The situation had become tense all over the country and especially at Ayodhya. The Supreme Court had ordered the State government to take care that the disputed site will not be endangered.

But on 6 December 1992, thousands of people gathered from all over the country at Ayodhya and demolished the mosque. This news led to clashes between the Hindus and Muslims in many parts of the country. The violence in Mumbai erupted again in January 1993 and continued for over two weeks. The events at Ayodhya led to a series of other developments.

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