After Hindu groups planed to celebrate by advertising in Times Square on August 5, as the ground breaking ceremony in Ayodhya was to align with the removal of Article 370, the Advertisement company, which manages main billboards, has reportedly refused to run the campaign
According to news reports, Dennis Levine of Branded Cities, has confirmed the decision to not run the advertisements and also reassured that “Branded Cities and Nasdaq oppose the demolition of Babri Masjid and will never allow any supremacist groups to run their advertisements”.
The decision came after around two dozen organisations in the United States have collectively written a letter to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, opposing the display of the images of Hindu deity Ram and 3-D portraits of the temple at Times Square on August 5.
The president of Indian Minorities Advocacy Network (ImanNet) Dr Shaik Ubaid, has also said that it is a great victory for pluralism, human rights and rule of law.
However, temples across the US have announced special events to celebrate the foundation laying ceremony of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
Fake images showing Hindu Gods being displayed across the giant billboards in the Times Square in New York City to celebrate the temple’s groundbreaking ceremony, had gone viral earlier. Alt news reported that these were morphed.
The decision by the Hindu groups seemed to come after advocacy and human rights groups used the prime space in New York to show support to Kashmir and register their protests against the Government of India’s ‘siege’.
On August 2, messages of ‘Kashmiri Lives Matter’ and ‘Kashmir Siege’ were displayed at Times Square, and shared across social media.
In September 2019 too, after the removal of Article 370, Kashmir took centerstage at Times Square and became a global concern as “Stand with Kashmir” slogans flashed at the iconic Times Square.
Slogans such as “restore human rights”, “stand with Kashmir”, “let Kashmir speak” and “free Kashmir” were displayed.
This happened as several world leaders were in New York City to attend the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
The disallowing of celebration of constructing Ram Temple in Ayodhya on August 5 is a big jolt for Hindu Extremists groups based in the United States.
The Ayodhya land dispute is one of India’s longest running dispute which continued for decades.
On 6 December 1992, a large group of Hindu extremists belonging to the Vishva Hindu Parishad and allied organisations demolished the Babri mosque, triggering violent clashes all over the Indian subcontinent, killing around 2,000 people. Hindu extremist groups claim that the site belongs to them, and is the birth place of Hindu God Ram.
Last year in November, the Supreme Court of India had directed the Government to hand over the disputed site at Ayodhya for the construction of a temple and set up a trust for the same.
The apex court had further directed the government to give a ‘suitable land measuring five acres’ to the Muslim body, Sunni Waqf Board at a different location.
Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi was scheduled to lay the foundation stone of the Ram Temple on August 5, Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, president, Ram Janambhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust had said. The Temple Trust had proposed August 5 as ‘auspicious’ date for Ram Mandir groundbreaking ceremony.
BJP General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya termed August 5 as a ‘historic day’ by stating that on this day foundation stone of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, will be laid and it also marks the first anniversary of the scrapping of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.
August 5 also marks the anniversary of the removal of Article 370 by Government of India.
The Parliament of India had in August last year adopted a resolution to abrogate Article 370, and passed a Bill to bifurcate the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, controlled directly by the Government of India.
Article 370 granted Jammu and Kashmir autonomy, and its scrapping was done as all Kashmiri political representatives were kept under detention, communication in Kashmir was blacked out, and thousands were imprisoned.
The removal of Article 370 has made concrete the fears of demographic change in the Muslim majority region of Kashmir, as laws regarding land ownership and citizenship have been changed by the Government of India controlled administration.
Lately, Home Minister Amit Shah said that the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir would be restored as soon as the situation warrants, and asked the representatives to not believe any rumours.
On July 3, BJP’s General Secretary Ram Madhav said that party’s J&K unit is of the opinion that statehood should be given back to the erstwhile state when the time is favourable.