Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday claimed that Congress leaders opposed the Ram temple in Ayodhya by choosing to wear black clothes during protests against price rise and unemployment held earlier during the day.

Two years ago on August 5, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone for the temple.

“I can’t understand why they protested today,” Shah told ANI. “Every day when they protest, they used to wear their usual normal dress but today they wore black clothes. Congress chose this day for protest and wore black clothes because they want to give a subtle message to further promote their appeasement politics because on this day itself PM Modi laid the foundation of Ram Janmabhoomi.”

Earlier on Friday, Congress leaders, led by party chief Sonia Gandhi and MP Rahul Gandhi, held protests against inflation, lack of jobs and demanded that the Goods and Services Tax hike on essential items be withdrawn.

A host of Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Mallikarjun Kharge, were detained by the Delhi Police for about six hours.

However, Shah claimed that the matters raised at the protests were just excuses for the Congress to demonstrate its opposition to the construction of the Ram temple.

The Congress, the home minister further alleged, could not have openly expressed its opposition to the temple construction and so the party tried to send a hidden message, PTI reported.

“There was no riot in the country, no violence, the prime minister fulfilled the aspiration and faith of crores of people,” Shah said.

In 1990, Modi was one of the organisers of the nationwide campaign for Ram temple. Hindus and Muslims have claimed ownership over the site for decades. But, the Supreme Court in November 2019 permitted the construction of the temple and directed the government to acquire an alternative plot of land for Muslims to build a mosque.

“The [Ayodhya] dispute had remained unresolved for over 550 years, and the Congress which was in power for most of time since independence did nothing to resolve it,” Shah said on Friday. “Modi worked to find a solution peacefully and laid the temple’s foundations stone... It is that sacred day today.”

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath also spoke on similar lines and claimed that the Congress leaders wore black clothes to insult devotees of Hindu deity Ram.

“They chose this day as today is Ayodhya Diwas which marks the beginning of the construction of Ram Janambhoomi,” he told ANI.

Meanwhile, the Congress said that Shah’s comment was a desperate attempt to “divert, distract, polarise and give a malicious twist” to its democratic demonstrations against price rise.

“It’s only a sick mind which can produce such bogus arguments,” Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh wrote in a tweet. “Clearly the protests have hit home!”

Earlier in the day, Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi said that the party leaders wore black clothes to convey their anger against price rise.

“Even the RBI [Reserve Bank of India] Governor has conceded that there is high inflation but the BJP MPs and the finance minister have lied to people of India on the floor of the House that there is no inflation,” he said.