Saturday’s five-judge Supreme Court bench’s order must have surprised everyone.
The apex court had earlier surprised many when it upheld the Emergency and considered Hindutva as a way of life.
Under the current judgment, the claim of not just the Muslims but even the original Hindu claimant, the Nirmohi Akhara, has been jettisoned. The Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, floated by the Sangh Parivar in January 1993 after the demolition of the historic mosque, has been given the whole 2.77 acre land.
Muslim organisations had since long said they would accept the final Supreme Court judgment while Hindu parties had said they would not accept the verdict if it went against them.
Only a few days before the judgment date, Hindu parties led by the RSS started preaching the virtues of peace and harmony. No one had heard them earlier condemning and disowning the lynch mobs of the parivar.
According to press reports, the SC judgment said the mosque was built on the site of a mandir although it also said that the Archaeological Survey of India report did not conclusively establish this fact.
Also, while saying that it is beyond the court’s scope to see if a belief is valid, it nonetheless maintained that the land belonged to Ram Lalla Virajman and that there was no evidence to show that the faith of the Hindus is not genuine.
It accepted the claim of the RSS-affiliate while saying that the Muslim side failed to establish possessory rights on the disputed property although it accepted that the mosque was built by Mir Baqi during the reign of Emperor Babar.
The SC has been generous enough to allocate five acres of land in Ayodhya to the Sunni Wakf Board to build a mosque.
Incidentally, this land too belonged to Muslims and was acquired by the V.P. Singh government in October 1990. Being a government institution, the Sunni Wakf Board may accept this generosity but it is unlikely that the Muslim community will ever accept it.
For weeks there were indicators that the khichdi had been cooked. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said on October 5 that “very good news awaits all.”
The next day, BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj said the building of the temple would start on December 6. The Union Home Ministry asked states to take security measures two days before the announcement of the verdict.
The Muslim Personal Law Board said it will appeal to a larger bench. Whatever the outcome, the current judgment should still be welcomed because an old festering wound has been addressed.
This outcome is certainly not to our liking or expectations but putting this vexed issue behind us will be good for the community and the country.
Chairman of Delhi Minorities Commission