Raising of the national flag on India's 72nd Republic Day and a tree plantation drive marked the formal beginning of the project to construct a mosque at Uttar Pradesh's Ayodhya. It is set to be built following the landmark 2019 Supreme Court verdict that facilitated the construction of a temple at the Ram Janmabhoomi site in Ayodhya and a mosque in the same district.
Members of the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation (IICF) trust, which will build the mosque in Ayodhya's Dhannipur village on a five-acre plot, assembled at the site at 8.15 am on Tuesday morning. The village is about 25 km from the Ram Janmabhoomi site where the Ram Temple is being built.
The national flag was hoisted at 8.45 am by Zafar Ahmad Farooqui, the chief of the trust. All 12 members of the trust then planted a tree sapling each at the site to mark the formal beginning of the work.
"We have started the work of soil testing at the site. So, one can say that technical work for the mosque has begun. After this, once (soil testing) reports are out and our maps are approved, we will start construction work. We have appealed for donations for the mosque and people have already started contributing," Mr Farooqi told NDTV in an interview
Last month, the Indo Islamic Cultural Foundation (IICF) had unveiled the futuristic design of the mosque, incorporating a massive glass dome across a picturesque garden. The hospital building with an elegant design is seen behind the mosque.
The name of the mosque is yet to be decided, but it will not be named after any emperor or king, the IICF Trust has said in earlier statements.
The first phase of the project will have a hospital along with the mosque. The trust plans to expand the hospital in the second phase.
"In this hospital complex, we will also have community kitchen that will serve at least 1,000 nutritious meals each day. We conducted a survey in the area, in a radius of 25-30 km, to understand the medical requirements here. The biggest issue in these parts seems to be malnutrition and we will address it," Athar Hussain, IICF Trust secretary told NDTV.