The over six-decade-long Ayodhya land dispute case finally saw the Supreme Court deliver its verdict on Saturday with the disputed land going to the Hindus and the Muslims being awarded an alternate five acres at a prominent place within the temple town to build a mosque.
It comes after the five-judge bench of the apex court consisting of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi heard petitions challenging the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgement, which trifurcated the 2.77 acres of disputed land into three parts between Ram Lalla, Nirmohi Akhara and the Sunni Waqf Board.
The judgment came 27 years after the chariot of religious belief marched in to demolish the Babri mosque in 1992, slashing through the umbilical cord of harmony in India and dividing Hindus and Muslims across the country.
The Hindus who demolished the mosque claimed that the 16th-century mosque had been built over a temple of Lord Ram who was born on the disputed land.
Although the scars of the violence the demolition unleashed are still healing for some, the Muslim youth we reached out to ahead of the verdict only wished for peace and justice.
This includes Javed Rehman who was only three when violence ripped through his village in Uttar Pradesh forcing his family to flee the state. Now, an IT employee, Rehman displays little rancour. “We will accept the verdict, irrespective of its nature. If the verdict is in favour of the temple, then so be it. We don’t want houses to be burnt in the name of god anymore,” he stresses.
Riya Khan, a third-year college student, too echoes Rehman’s views.”The demolition of the mosque is an event of the past. I don’t want a mosque that can lead to more anger towards the minority community in India. We have faith in the Supreme Court. We want to live in peace,” the Delhi resident said.
After failing to find a middle ground through mediation, the five-judge bench had concluded the 40-day marathon hearing on October 16 and reserved the verdict. The three parties involved in the legal battle- Nirmohi Akhara, Ram Lalla and the Waqf board - had moved the apex court challenging the Allahabad High Court verdict.
Although,everyone from the Sunni Waqf board to the right-wing RSS has given a call for peace and asked all Indians to accept the verdict wholeheartedly, some have sought a humanitarian way out.
“I don’t want to see any act of violence. The best way out is through all three parties coming together.They should give up the idea of dividing the land between religion and pass it to the public,” said Amanul Akhtar, an MNC employee from Kolkata.
He suggests, a hospital or a school should be built on the disputed site, which in turn would help the people in UP given the poor conditions of the government-run institutions there .
Ahead of the verdict, the temple town of Ayodhya has turned into a fortress with thousands of CRPF men being deployed since Thursday. The security arrangements are multi-layered and drones too have been deployed.