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Ayodhya (əyōdˈyə) or Ajodhya () (əjōdˈyə) (–jōdˈ–), town, Uttar Pradesh state, N India, on the Ghaghara River. Formerly called Oudh, the town forms a municipal corporation with Faizabad. Ayodhya was the capital of the kingdom of Kosala (7th cent. B.C.). Long associated with Hindu legend of Rama and his father Dasharatha (see Ramayana), the town is a center of pilgrimage and is one of the seven sites sacred to Hindus.

In the late 1980s Ayodhya became a focus of Muslim-Hindu tensions, and in 1992 fundamentalist Hindus pulled down the 16th-century Babri mosque that they alleged stood on the site of Rama's birthplace. In 2003 the Archaeological Survey of India reported that remains of a structure with features like those of Hindu temple were underneath the mosque. Building a temple on the site was a rallying issue for Hindu nationalist parties, and a 2009 report on the razing accused many prominent Hindu nationalists of planning, supporting, or failing to prevent the attack. A. B. Vajpayee and other Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) leaders were named as being among those who were in some way culpable. In 2017 the supreme court ordered that Lal Krishna Advani and several other BJP leaders be tried for their alleged role in the razing of the mosque; they were acquitted in 2020.

The site of the razed mosque was long a source of contention; a lawsuit over ownership of the site that dated to 1950 was decided only in 2010. The decision divided the land between Hindus and Muslims, but parties on both sides announced plans for appeals, and in 2011 the supreme court suspended the ruling. A 2019 decision by the supreme court, while criticizing the destruction of the mosque, awarded the land to Hindus on the basis of the 2003 archaeological report, and construction of a temple began in 2020.

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References in periodicals archive ?
The RSS has been banned three times in India's history: first after a Hindu nationalist assassinated Gandhi in 1948 for his tolerant views of religion, then during the period of direct rule by Indira Gandhi in the mid-1970s, and in 1992-1993 after Hindu nationalists destroyed a mosque on a sacred Hindu site in Ayodha in northern India, thus triggering widespread communal riots.
In 1992-93, the party's image was tarnished among some, burnished for others, by its alleged complicity in serious outbreaks of communal violence in which a mosque was destroyed at Ayodha and up to 3,000 people were killed in anti-Muslim rioting in Bombay and elsewhere.
Liberals, on the other hand, condemn AHAD's affiliations with both the million-dollar advocacy outfit Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, which has ties to India's ruling BJP party, and the nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, whose mission includes "strengthening the [Hindu] society by emphasizing and inculcating a spirit of unity, so that no one can dare challenge it." Both groups supported the demolition of the Ayodha mosque and say attacks on Christian missionaries result from "anger of patriotic Hindu youth against anti-national forces."
The Gujarat state government has also been criticized for allowing Hindu militants to taunt local Muslims over the construction of a Hindu temple in the northern Indian holy city Ayodha in Uttar Pradesh State on the site of a razed Muslim temple.
Roger Friedland and Richard Hecht's comparison of Hindu religious nationalism with regard to the Babri Mosque in Ayodha and Israeli religious nationalism stance regarding the Temple Mount!
For example, party officials no longer seek to build a temple on the site of a 16th-century mosque in Ayodha that was destroyed by Hindu militants in 1992.
The destruction of the Ayodha mosque by Hindu militants and the consequent riots across the country have forever shattered the confidence of millions of India's citizens, both Hindu and Muslim.
The chief minister's visit to Ayodhya was announced a day after the Shiv Sena's media cell stated on Wednesday that the party chief, Uddhav Thackeray will visit Ayodha later this month.
THE Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas ( RJBN) on Saturday reiterated its stand that the construction of a temple at Ayodha would not be possible without a Bill being passed in Parliament.
In this situation, the Ayodha controversy is a potential test case of the government's Hindu bona fides -- and gasoline on the fire.