Skip to main content

India: Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas criticised for visiting temple on ruins of mosque

The historic Babri Masjid stood for hundreds of years until 1992 when a Hindu nationalist mob destroyed it
Indian actress Priyanka Chopra and her husband, the American pop star Nick Jonas (AFP)
Indian actress Priyanka Chopra and her husband, the American pop star Nick Jonas (AFP)

The actress Priyanka Chopra and her husband, the singer Nick Jonas, have come under heavy criticism for visiting a controversial temple in India built on the ruins of a demolished 16th-century mosque.

In January, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi opened the Ram Temple, where the Babri Mosque once stood, in a highly publicised ceremony. The construction of the temple, which has not been fully completed, was one of Modi’s major policies, and a rallying point for the country's Hindu nationalists. 

On Wednesday, Chopra, one of India’s highest-paid actresses and a star in multiple American films and television shows, posted a series of photos on Instagram showing her and Jonas in the temple with their two-year-old daughter Malti Marie.

Chopra and Jonas visited the temple at a time of rising religious tensions, as India heads towards a general election.

After Chopra’s post, many took to social media to express their surprise at seeing Jonas at the temple.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked


One X user accused Jonas of carrying out "Hindu nationalism PR for the temple that is a crowning achievement of the party that passed a law excluding Muslim immigrants". Another accused him of endorsing "a violently casteist, anti-Muslim hindutva ideology" with his visit.

By contrast, the event has received widespread positive coverage in Indian media.

Chopra is known to be close to Modi, and invited him to her 2018 wedding in Delhi.


A post shared by Priyanka (@priyankachopra)

The actress has previously come under fire for remaining silent on attacks on Indian minorities while supporting various human rights movements elsewhere, including Black Lives Matter in the US and the protests against Iran’s hijab laws.

Middle East Eye has contacted Chopra's manager and the Jonas Brothers for comment.

Rise of Hindu nationalism

The Ram Temple is being built where the historic Babri Masjid stood for hundreds of years until 6 December 1992, when a Hindu nationalist mob destroyed it. The site has been inaugurated and the full project is due to be completed by December.

Hindu nationalist leaders claimed the mosque had been built over the ruins of a temple and the site is believed to have been the birthplace of the Hindu deity Lord Ram.

The demolition of the mosque was accompanied by riots that killed almost 2,000 people.

How India's demolition drive is alienating its Muslim population
Read More »

Leaders of Congress, India’s largest opposition party, refused to attend the consecration ceremony - as did those representing multiple other parties.

In the days after the ceremony, incidents were reported across India of armed Hindu nationalist mobs vandalising Muslim-owned properties and attacking Muslims. 

Since then, the Indian government has moved to raze other centuries-old Islamic heritage sites.

India is home to about 14 percent of the world’s population of Muslims. Rights groups have warned that in many areas of the country, Muslims are subject to the arbitrary demolition of their homes and the constant threat of lynch mobs.

Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir, under a longstanding Indian military occupation, was stripped of its autonomous status in 2019.

Christians and other minorities have also faced increased attacks in recent years.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.