A church in New Jersey, USA, disallowed permission for a fundraising event featuring hardline Hindutva leader Sadhvi Rithambara on Saturday, 10 September.
(Photo: The Quint)


On 6 December 1992, the day the Babri Masjid was demolished by Hindutva mobs, Sadhvi Rithambara was there, sitting on the Ram Chabutra, a platform constructed slightly away from the masjid and the site from where proponents of the Ram Mandir would address the karsewaks.

Three decades later, a church in New Jersey, USA, disallowed permission for a fundraising event featuring the hardline Hindutva leader on Saturday, 10 September.

Authorities at the Old Paramus Reformed Church in Ridgewood, New Jersey, took the decision following protest calls against the event, reported local news website northjersey.com.

Reverend Robert Miller of the church had reportedly stated on Friday that he had revoked approval to use of the church building after hearing from both opponents and event organisers. Miller also said that the church was not aware of the speaker’s background when the reservation was made.

Miller mentioned that the church got a flood of messages opposing Rithambara’s appearance, including more than 1,000 emails from across the USA since Thursday and at least 100 phone calls on Friday, a day before the event was scheduled to be held.

Advocacy groups Hindus For Human Rights and Indian American Muslim Council had participated in the protests against the event.

But who is Sadhvi Rithambara, and why did news that she would address an event in a New Jersey church lead to such large protests against the event and its eventual cancellation?

Rithambara: Babri and Beyond

Known as Nisha in her early years, Ritambhara grew up in Doraha in Punjab’s Ludhiana.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, she would rise among the Hindutva ranks and go on to play a crucial role in the movement demanding a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya at the site where the Babri Masjid stood at the time.

The Liberhan Commission, which was commissioned by the Government of India to probe the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992, compiled a list of 68 people whom they stated were individually culpable for leading the country “to the brink of communal discord”.

This story was originally published in thequint.com . Read the full story here