AYODHYA … India set on anxious wait for Babri-Ayodhya verdict; expected before November 17

NEW DELHI: India is in anxious wait – wait for a Supreme Court verdict on the vexatious Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute centered around Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh – which had in the past raised political heat and communal riots killing several hundreds of people – Muslims and Hindus.

The Supreme Court, which heard as many as 14 appeals against an Allahabad High Court verdict of year 2010, before it closed for the Diwali vacation, reopened on November 4. A verdict on the appeals will be given by a constitution bench of the apex court any time before November 17 – the day when Chief Justice of the apex court Ranjan Gogoi retires from service. He heads the constitution bench that went into the aspects of the 2010 Babri verdict given by the Allahabad HC. It is imperative that the bench gives its order before CJI retires.

On the positive side, there is realization on the part of the contending parties – the pro-RSS outfits like the Viswa Hindu Parishad, and the RSS leadership itself that they must abide by the apex court verdict, whatever it might be. The Allahabad high court order had equally distributed the 2.77acres of the disputed land in Ayodhya between three contending parties – the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said his organization will abide by the apex court verdict in toto. Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah as also Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath made it clear they will respect the court order, whatever it be. They called upon the people to maintain calm whatever be the verdict.

It was in 1992 that a large congregation of Kar Sevaks of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and some other RSS outfits, ably supported by BJP leaders LK Advani, MM Joshi, Uma Bharti and others, razed the Babri Masjid. Their claim: the mosque in the name of invading emperor Babar was built on a land where Lord Ram was born and where a temple was demolished for the purpose. They want to build a new temple at the very same site.

In 2002, a train carrying batches of Kar Sevaks returning from Ayodhya was set on fire in Godhra by suspected Muslim fanatics, leading to massive riots across Gujarat state in which over 2,000 people were killed. Much of the blame for failure to control the riots was put on then chief minister Narendra Modi, who in 2014 went on to become Prime Minister of the nation. The BJP’s growth as a political establishment since the 1980s was attributed mainly to the communal frenzy it built up over the Babri Mosque- Ram Janambhoomi issue. It wrested power from the Congress in the 1990s, and returned to power in 2014 with Modi at its head.  –IHN-NN

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