New Delhi: The disputed land in Ayodhya will be given to a government-run trust for the building of a temple and a five-acre “suitable” plot will be given for a mosque, the Supreme Court announced today in a landmark verdict in a religious and political flashpoint that has cast a shadow on the country for decades. A five-judge constitution bench delivered a unanimous verdict. There have been appeals for peace and heightened security across the country.
The verdict comes after a century-old legal wrangle over a piece of land in Ayodhya where the 16th century Babri mosque stood before it was razed by Hindu activists who believe it is the birthplace of Lord Ram. The deity Ram Lalla, or infant Ram, one of the litigants of the case, has been given the ownership of the 2.77-acre disputed land.
Here are the top 10 updates on the Ayodhya verdict:
- The court said a trust or board run by the central government will formulate a scheme for the construction and management of a temple. The judges said the mosque should be constructed at a “prominent site” and a trust should be formed within three months for the construction of the temple.
- The five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi heard the case for 40 days. The other members of the bench are Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer. The Ayodhya verdict was delivered before Chief Justice Gogoi retires on November 17.
- Chief Justice Gogoi had met top Uttar Pradesh officials to discuss law-and-order arrangements on Friday. At least 12,000 security personnel have been posted in Uttar Pradesh, where Ayodhya is situated.
- Schools and colleges are closed in several states, including Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Rajasthan.
- In a series of tweets on Friday, the Prime Minister said the “Ayodhya verdict will not be anybody’s victory or loss”, adding that it was the priority of the country’s citizens to maintain harmony. “I appeal to countrymen that it should be our priority to strengthen our tradition of maintaining peace and harmony after Ayodhya verdict. In the run up to Ayodhya verdict, efforts have been made by various people and organisations to maintain harmonious atmosphere. We have to maintain amity even after Ayodhya verdict,” PM Modi said in another tweet.
- The government has increased the security provided to the five judges ahead of the Ayodhya verdict. Two helicopters have been kept on standby in Lucknow and Ayodhya to tackle any possible emergency. Security arrangements in Delhi have also been tightened.
- The dispute over 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya, claimed by both Hindus and Muslims, has dominated political discourse since the 1980s. While Hindu activists want to build a temple on the site, Muslim groups claim there is no proof that a temple existed there.
- In 1992, rightwing activists tore down the Babri mosque which they believed was built on the ruins of an ancient temple that marked the birthplace of the Lord Ram. In the riots that followed, more than 2,000 people were killed.
- An Allahabad High Court verdict prescribing a three-way division of the disputed land in September 2010 failed to satisfy the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla, the parties involved in the dispute. All three moved the Supreme Court.
- In an effort to ensure peace after the verdict, several Hindu and Muslim organisations have put out appeals and said nobody should indulge in hysterics irrespective of which way the judgment goes.