Why India’s Hindu nationalists are targeting Muslim religious sites in court

New Delhi

For nearly three centuries, Muslims and Hindus in the northern Indian city of Varanasi prayed to their gods in a mosque and temple separated by a wall. Many see it as an example of religious coexistence in a country where episodes of deadly communal violence are common.

This coexistence is now under threat due to a controversial court case.

Earlier this month, a local court began hearing a petition by a group of Hindus seeking access to pray inside the Gyanvapi Mosque compound, arguing that it was built on the ruins of a medieval era temple that was razed by a Mughal emperor. The petitioners say the complex still houses Hindu idols and motifs, a claim that has been disputed by mosque authorities.

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