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Pakistan calls on world to help preserve Islamic heritage in India 

People taking part in the demonstration to obersve the black day on the 27th anniversary of the demolition of Babri Mosque in Delhi, India on December 06, 2019 [Javed Sultan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images]
People taking part in the demonstration to obersve the black day on the 27th anniversary of the demolition of Babri Mosque in Delhi, India on December 06, 2019 [Javed Sultan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images]

On the 30th anniversary of the demolition of India's historic Babri Mosque by Hindu extremists, Pakistan's Foreign Office on Tuesday urged the international community and the UN to play a role in preserving India's Islamic heritage under threat by Hindutva, which is advocated by the ruling BJP party.

"The Indian government must ensure the safety, security, and protection of minorities, particularly Muslims, and their places of worship," the Foreign Office said in a statement.

"The occasion is a sad reminder of the growing anti-Muslim frenzy in India ever since," it added.

"We condemn the ongoing construction of a Hindu temple on the site of the demolished mosque, and the acquittal of the criminals responsible for its destruction."

The famous Babri Mosque in Ayodhya was built in the 16th century under the orders of the first Mughal Emperor, Babur. However in 1992 it was destroyed brick by brick by Hindu zealots, using axes and hammers who claimed that the site was the birthplace of their deity Rama.

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Today a large Hindu temple is being constructed on the same location, following a controversial Supreme Court ruling permitting it. It is expected to be completed by 2024.

The incident was seen as a turning point in contemporary Indian politics and paved the way for wider mainstream acceptance of hardline Hindu nationalism. According to a report by the Guardian in October, more Islamic heritage sites are under threat, including the 800-year old Shamsi Jama Masjid in Uttar Pradesh. In line with the BJP's aims to rewrite India's history, the destruction of mosques in order to rebuild Hindu temples which have allegedly been destroyed has served as powerful propaganda.

In May, a senior BJP leader claimed that Mughals had destroyed 36,000 Hindu temples and they would "reclaim all those temples one by one". In 2017, Vinay Katiyar, who was then a BJP Rajya Sabha member, claimed that the Taj Mahal which is one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World and built under the orders of Mughal ruler Shah Jahan, was originally a Hindu temple.

Pakistan's Foreign Office also warned that Hindu extremists were demanding the conversion of more mosques into temples, including the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi.

"These demands might lead to more tragedies like that of Babri Mosque," it warned.

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