The Babri Masjid was built at the Ram Janmabhoomi site in Ayodhya to demean Hindus, not for worship, Union minister Uma Bharti said on Saturday. She justified this as the reason why the movement to build a Ram Temple at the site was needed, The Indian Express reported.

“When Mir Baqi, the Mughal governor of Awadh, reached Ayodhya on Babur’s instructions, he saw many Hindu believers came to the temple there,” she said. “Weren’t there other places in Ayodhya where a mosque could have been constructed? Why was only that spot identified for the mosque? It was chosen not for worship but to show Hindus their place and to demean us.”

The drinking water and sanitation minister is an accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case. She made the comments on Saturday while speaking at a conference on “Vasudhaiva Kutambakam”, which means the world is one family, at the NDMC Convention Centre in Delhi.

She said she expected followers of other religions to reciprocate towards Hinduism the respect she had towards Prophet Mohammad and Jesus Christ, The Telegraph reported. “I accept the Prophet; I respect the Church; I consider Bible as a sacred text; others should think the same way, too,” she said. “A maulavi and a father should also have respect for the Gita, the Ramayana and the Vedas.”

In 2001, a special court of the Central Bureau of Investigation had dropped the conspiracy charges against Bharti, former Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Murli Manohar Joshi and other right-wing leaders. The Allahabad High Court had upheld the order in 2010, and in April 2017, the Supreme Court had asked the CBI court to restore the conspiracy charges against them.