The top court on Saturday gave the Hindus control of the Ayodhya’s 2.77-acre disputed land site, paving the way for the construction of a Ram temple. Also, the opposing Muslim board were ordered to be provided with almost double of the disputed land around 5 acres in the other prominent place of their choice in Ayodhya.
On early Saturday before the verdict came out, the town of Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh looked deserted as locals stayed inside their homes, waiting for the final decision on the longest land dispute between Hindu and Muslims. But when India’s apex court delivered its verdict, Ayodhya slowly went back to normal, with people back on the streets in a rejoicing mood chanting “Jai Shri Ram” and congratulating each other.
In a 1045-page historic verdict today, the top court reversed the Allahabad High Court’s September 30, 2010 verdict equally dividing the disputed 2.77 acre land between Ram Lalla, Nirmohi Akhara and Muslims, terming it “legally unsustainable”. The Supreme Court has directed the government to form a committee within three months to lead the construction of the temple and also to allot the 5 acres of land to the Muslim board in the same period.
Hindus rejoice on the verdict…
Hindus in Ayodhya hailed the judgement, saying it respected the interests of both Hindus and Muslims.
“It is a historic day for all Hindus across the world and I am really proud of how the Supreme Court handled the entire issue. There couldn’t have been a better judgement than this” said Shambhu Tiwari, a Hindu priest at a temple in Ayodhya “I even welcome the decision by the court to provide alternate land to Muslims. This verdict will strengthen the bond between the Hindus and the Muslims in the country.”
Shaadi Lal, who owns a shop in the town, welcomed the judgement for economic reasons. “If a huge Ram temple is built in Ayodhya, it will boost the local economy as more tourists would flock to the town,” he said. “This would mean better business opportunities for people like me. “The economy of Ayodhya is totally dependent on Ram and if there are no tourists, we will have nothing to eat.”Even Muslims can’t deny this fact. The people of this town, irrespective of their religion, should prosper and this decision has done that.”
Mixed reactions among Muslims on the verdict…
Reactions among the Muslim community in Ayodhya were mixed. Some welcomed the decision, others rejected it.
Saleem Hassan, a resident, welcomed the decision: “Senior members of our community, who were also part of the negotiations, have already said that they respect and welcome the court’s judgement, so there is no reason why we should differ. “Our five generations have witnessed so much hostility because of this dispute and if this is how the court feels it should be addressed, we welcome it.”
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board said that it was not satisfied and is evaluating legal options, including filing a review petition.
Critics on the verdict…
Critics of the decision were vocal on social media, with some saying the verdict was a faith-based decision.
Writer Rana Ayyub said: “The privileged who did not suffer through the anti-Muslim carnage post the Babri demolition in 1992 are talking about closure. Closure for whom?”
International lawyer Suchitra Vijayan wrote on Twitter: “The Hindu Rashtra [Hindu polity] is here & this is the beginning of an epoch of fear. In the years to come to Ayodhya, & Gujarat pogrom will pale in comparison. We will remember the men who were meant to defend our constitution, abdicate their responsibility to truth & justice.”
Government, opposition on the verdict…
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the verdict should not be seen as a victory or loss for anybody.
“The calm and peace maintained by [1.3 billion] Indians in the run-up to today’s verdict manifest India’s inherent commitment to peaceful coexistence,” Modi said. “May this very spirit of unity and togetherness power the development trajectory of our nation. May every Indian be empowered.”
Prime opposition party Congress also welcomed the court’s decision and called for peace and harmony in the country.