Wednesday 11 December 2019
 
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INDIA

India's top court gives disputed Ayodhya site to Hindus

NEW DELHI, November 9, 2019

In a landmark verdict, India's supreme court has ruled that the disputed holy site of Ayodhya in northern India should be given to Hindus who want a temple built there annd Muslims would get another plot of land to construct a mosque, reported BBC.

 
The case, which has been bitterly contested for decades by Hindus and Muslims, centres on the ownership of the land in Uttar Pradesh state.
 
The historic verdict on the long-running Ayodhya dispute was announced by a five-member bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and including Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer.
 
Supreme Court judges said the ruling was "unanimous."
 
In the unanimous verdict, the court said that a report by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) provided evidence that the remains of a building "that was not Islamic" was beneath the structure of the demolished Babri mosque.
 
The court said that, given all the evidence presented, it had determined that the disputed land should be given to Hindus for a temple to Lord Ram, while Muslims would be given land elsewhere to construct a mosque.
 
In its over 1000-page order, the Supreme Court has said that Hindus have established “a clear case of a possessory title” to the outside courtyard by virtue of “long, continued and unimpeded worship” at the Ram Chabutra and other objects of religious significance, reported Indian Express.
 
It has said that according to the Hindu witnesses, the Hindus used to offer prayer to the Kasauti stone pillars placed inside the mosque. 
 
“Muslim witnesses have acknowledged the presence of symbols of Hindu religious significance both inside and outside the mosque,” the report stated citing SC ruling.
 
It then directed the Modi-led Central government to set up a trust to manage and oversee the construction of the temple.
 
Reacting to the verdict Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter that it should not be seen as a "win or loss for anybody".
 
@narendramodi
The Honourable Supreme Court has given its verdict on the Ayodhya issue. This verdict shouldn’t be seen as a win or loss for anybody. Be it Ram Bhakti or Rahim Bhakti, it is imperative that we strengthen the spirit of Rashtra Bhakti. 
 
May peace and harmony prevail!
 
Still, the verdict is likely to be viewed as win for Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its backers, reported Reuters.
 
It comes months after Modi’s government stripped the Jammu and Kashmir region of its special status as a state, delivering on yet another election promise, it stated. 
 
Neelanjan Sircar, an assistant professor at Ashoka University near New Delhi, said the court ruling would benefit the BJP, which won re-election in May, but a slowing economy would ultimately take centre stage for voters.
 
“In the short term, there will be a boost for the BJP,” said Sircar. “These things don’t work forever ... Ram Temple isn’t going to put food on the table,” he added.
 
Modi’s party hailed the ruling as a “milestone”.
 
“I welcome the court decision and appeal to all religious groups to accept the decision,” Home Minister Amit Shah, who is also president of the BJP, said on Twitter.
 
Muslim organisations appealed for calm.
 
The Hindu group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh - the parent organisation of Modi’s party - had already decided against any celebrations to avoid provoking sectarian violence between India’s majority Hindus and Muslims, who constitute 14% of its 1.3 billion people.
 
Restrictions were placed on gatherings in some places and internet services were suspended. Elsewhere, police monitored social media to curb rumours.
 
Streets in Ayodhya were largely deserted and security personnel patrolled the main road to Lucknow, the capital of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
 



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