Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday that he was grateful to the judiciary for “ensuring justice” and paving the way for the Ram temple in Ayodhya to be constructed.

He made the statement after leading the ceremony to inaugurate the temple.

The Ram temple is being built on the site of the Babri mosque, which was demolished by Hindutva extremists on December 6, 1992, because they believed that it stood on the spot on which the deity Ram had been born. The incident had triggered communal riots across the country.

In November 2019, the Supreme Court held that the demolition of the Babri mosque in 1992 was illegal, but handed over the land to a trust for a Ram temple to be constructed. At the same time, it directed that a five-acre plot in Ayodhya be allotted to Muslims for a mosque to be constructed.

Also read: How the Indian judiciary turned the Babri Masjid into the Ram Mandir

Modi said on Monday: “Lord Ram is present in the first copy of the Indian Constitution. Even after the Constitution came into existence, there was a decades-long legal battle on the existence of Prabhu Shri Ram. I express gratitude to the Indian judiciary for delivering justice in the matter.”

In the original copy of the Constitution, the first page of part III – which deals with fundamental rights – has an illustration of the Hindu deities Ram, Sita and Lakshman.

The prime minister said that some people had warned that constructing the Ram temple in Ayodhya would “set off a firestorm”. He added: “Such people cannot understand the purity of India’s social spirit. The construction of this temple symbolises peace, patience, mutual harmony and coordination.”

Modi said that the occasion of the temple’s inauguration was not just one of victory, but also of humility.

Earlier in the day, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath said that the inauguration of the temple heralded the beginning of “Ram Rajya”. The term “Ram Rajya” refers to a nationalist utopia popularised by Mahatma Gandhi and later adopted by Hindutva groups as a political tool against secularism.

“Now, gunshots won’t echo in the streets of Ayodhya,” Adityanath said. “There will be no curfews. Now, there will be deepotsav [festival of lights] and Ramotsav [festival of Ram].”