Security across Uttar Pradesh and other communally sensitive states has been tightened for the 19th anniversary of the Babri mosque demolition on Tuesday.
The 16th century mosque located in Ayodhya was razed on December 6, 1992 by Hindu mob, which claimed it stood on the birthplace of Lord Ram and wanted a grand Ram temple constructed there.
Now, almost two decades after the demolition by right-wing activists in the presence of senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, the politics of Hindutva appear to have lost steam and the demand for the Ram temple less strident.
While the Congress and the Left parties allege that the BJP had exploited the sentiments of the Hindus for political gains, the BJP maintains it has not given up the Ram temple issue but is giving primacy to other matters too.
BJP chief Nitin Gadkari told reporters recently that the party has not given up the Ram temple issue, but was giving more stress on economic issues.
"I am from a new generation and it is natural that economic issues will receive emphasis, as also GDP, politics of development, progress, besides nationalism and good governance," he said. "Unfortunately the BJP has been given a tag of being communal which we are trying to remove," he added.
But, Mridula Mukherjee, professor in New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, said there are pushes and pulls in the BJP which will bring the Ram temple issue to the fore and backburner occasionally. "But the core of the party remains to be the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh) and the hardliners," she added.
The BJP will though find it hard to raise the issue much while it heads the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) with even its key ally, the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) terming the demolition a "sad incident in our political history". JD-U general secretary Javed Raza had said that the Babri demolition was a sad incident and a solution should be attempted through dialogue or judicial process.
On the ground however, Tuesday is unlikely to be tension-filled as it was in the 1990s.
This year's anniversary on December 6 coincides with Muharram's 10th day, which is also observed as a day of mourning by a section of Muslims.
To avoid any untoward tension, security has been stepped up around sensitive locations like the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya, ghats and temples in Varanasi and other vital installations across the state.
Police in Hyderabad have sounded a high alert and security has been stepped up across the Andhra Pradesh capital, especially in the communally sensitive Old City.
Police have deployed additional forces to maintain peace in view of calls by various Muslim organisations to observe the day as 'black day' and also for the smooth conduct of the annual 'Moharram procession'.
with inputs from IANS