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Hindu Nationalists To Build Temple

January 20, 2001

ALLAHABAD, India (AP) _ Hindu nationalists announced Saturday that they will begin building a temple next year at the site of a mosque that was destroyed during religious riots in 1992, unless the government resolves a dispute over the site.

Majority Hindus and minority Muslims are at odds over the holy site, which Hindu nationalists claim was the birthplace of Rama. Muslims deny the claim.

The Dec. 6, 1992 demolition of the 16th-century mosque at Ayodhya by a Hindu mob sparked religious riots that killed 2,000 people across India.

India’s Supreme Court is hearing a petition to decide whether a temple had existed at the site. Muslim leaders have refused to talk to Hindu nationalist groups to resolve the dispute out of court.

The Hindu nationalists’ decision could lead to further tension.

``No power on the earth can stop us,″ said Acharya Dharmendra Maharaj, chairman of the central executive of the World Hindu Council, as he announced plans to build the temple in March 2002.

The announcement, made on the second day of a three-day religious congregation, was greeted by 10,000 Hindus with chants of ``Jai Sri Rama,″ or ``Hail Rama,″ Hinduism’s principle deity, who the proposed temple would honor.

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