The Allahabad High Court on Thursday ruled that the disputed land in Ayodhya, where the Babri mosque was razed in 1992, was Lord Ram’s birthplace. However, the land will be split among three contesting parties equally.
A three-member bench delivered the 60-year old Ayodhya title suit filed by the Sunni Central Waqf Board, they reported.
All three sets of parties, ie Muslims, Hindus and (Hindu religious organisation) Nirmhoi Akhara are declared joint holders of the property in dispute,” Justice SU Khan said in a ruling on the website of the Allahabad High Court.
Justice Sharma categorically rejected the claim of the Sunni Central Waqf Board and said: “The disputed site is the birthplace of Lord Rama. The disputed building was constructed by Babar, the year is not certain, but it was built against the tenets of Islam. Thus, it cannot have the character of a mosque,” said Justice Dharam Veer Sharma. The Archaeological Survey of India has proved that the building was a massive Hindu religious structure, Sharma said. The entire bench was of the view that the central dome of the disputed structure goes to Hindu Mahasabha, where idols were installed in 1949 and again in 1992 after the demolition of the Babri Mosque. Justice Khan ruled that the mosque was built by Babar, not by demolishing a temple, but on the ruins of a temple.
The judges said that none of the litigants would take any action on the land for the next three months but both Hindus and Muslims plan to appeal to the Supreme Court. “We are partly disappointed. We will approach the Supreme Court,” Sunni Waqf Board lawyer Zafaryab Jillani told reporters. The suit of Muslims was liable to be dismissed, he added.
Hindu lawyers said the court’s verdict backed Hindu beliefs that the site was the birthplace of the deity Lord Ram. “I am very happy the court has accepted the historic fact and this is a matter of great happiness for Hindus,” Nritya Gopaldas Maharaj, president of Ram Janam Bhoomi trust, told reporters in Ayodhya.
But Maharaj said his group would appeal in the Supreme Court against the court’s decision to give a proportion of the site to Muslims. “The court has respected the Hindu belief but we will take the matter to the Supreme Court as the fight still remains,” he said.
Political parties have welcomed the verdict, which spearheaded the Ramjanmabhumi movement, terming it as a “positive” development while Congress said no one should treat it as a victory or defeat.
“All the three judges are unanimous in accepting that the idol of Ram cannot be removed from the place where it is installed right now,” said lawyer and BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad in Lucknow after the court verdict.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cautioned people against “disruptive elements” spreading rumours to create ill-will between communities, the Press Trust of India reported.
Ever since the destruction of the mosque 18 years ago, the site has been cordoned off with barbed wire and steel fencing and guarded by troops. Some 200,000 police and paramilitary forces had been deployed ahead of the court verdict to pre-empt any violent reaction, said a news agency AFP.
In 1992, the demolition of a 16th-century mosque on the Ayodhya site by Hindu activists sparked riots that killed more than 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, in some of the worst sectarian violence since partition of the Indian sub-continent in 1947.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2010.
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