2018: India’s Year of Turmoil

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi performs yoga with others to mark the International Day of Yoga, in New Delhi, India, June 21, 2015. Modi led tens of thousands of people in the yoga session in the centre of the capital on Sunday to showcase the country's signature cultural export, which has prompted criticism of fomenting social divisions at home. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

A long-simmering dispute over a religious site may have another turn in the spotlight.

The stalemate regarding the Babri Masjid demolition case continues as the national election approaches, thus further vitiating the communal atmosphere in the country and pointing towards the possibility of greater mayhem during the rest of 2018. The possibility of such disorder in the communally charged atmosphere of today’s India will increase if the Supreme Court delivers a judgment mandating the rebuilding of the mosque on its original site. This is likely to infuriate the BJP’s Hindutva constituency, and could lead to major attacks on Muslim people and property. In the context of its inability or unwillingness to save Muslim lives in the Gujarat pogrom of 2002, the BJP government will have to demonstrate extra vigilance and firm resolve to ensure that its record is not tarnished further by the outbreak of uncontrolled violence against India’s Muslim minority.

Mohammed Ayoob is senior fellow at the Center for Global Policy in Washington, DC, and University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of International Relations at Michigan State University.

Image: India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi performs yoga with others to mark the International Day of Yoga, in New Delhi, India, June 21, 2015. Modi led tens of thousands of people in the yoga session in the centre of the capital on Sunday to showcase the country's signature cultural export, which has prompted criticism of fomenting social divisions at home. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

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