AYODHYA VERDICT: Disputed site trifurcated, Ram idol to stay
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Last Updated: Thursday, September 30, 2010, 20:54
Zeenews Bureau

Lucknow: In a much-awaited verdict, the Allahabad High Court today ruled that the 2.77 acre disputed land in Ayodhya be divided into three parts among Hindus and Muslims and held that the place where the makeshift temple of Lord Rama currently exists belongs to Hindus.

The majority 2-1 verdict of the Lucknow bench of the court, said to be running into nearly 8,000 pages, comes after nearly 60 years of tortuous litigation over who holds the title to the disputed site. Still, the order may not be the last word and the issue may land up in the Supreme Court.

As an anxious nation awaited the court verdict in the highly-sensitive issue with lakhs of security personnel deployed in Uttar Pradesh and other sensitive places across the country, the order of Justices S U Khan, Sudhir Agarwal and D V Sharma became public just before 4.30 PM amid high drama.

The judges wrote three separate judgements but the majority verdict held that the area covered by the central dome of the three-domed structure where the idol of Lord Rama is presently situated belongs to Hindus.

"The disputed site is (indeed) the birthplace of Lord Ram," said the brief two-page official synopsis of the judgement. It ruled that the place of Ram's birth must also be construed as a juristic person and a deity.

"It is personified as the spirit of divine worshipped as birthplace of Lord Rama as a child," the majority ruling said.

Justices Khan and Agarwal said the entire disputed land should be divided into three equal parts, each to be given to Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and the parties representing 'Ram Lalla Virajman' (seated Baby Ram).

Perhaps for the first in judicial history, a verdict was delivered in high security with media and lawyers and parties unrelated to the case kept out of the court premises.

Press briefings were arranged in the District Collectorate opposite the court premises and summary of the judgements immediately uploaded on the website.

The majority judges declared maintenance of status quo at the disputed land for three months.

All the three judges of the High Court were unanimous on the ownership of the place where the makeshift temple exists. However, Justice Sharma held that the entire disputed area belonged to Hindus.

"It is further declared that the portion below the central dome where at present the idol is kept in makeshift temple will be allotted to Hindus in final decree," Justice Khan said.

"It is declared that the area covered by the central dome of the three domed structure, i.e., the disputed structure being the deity of Bhagwan Ram Janamsthan and place of birth of Lord Rama as per faith and belief of the Hindus, belong to plaintiffs (filed on behalf of Lord Ram) and shall not be obstructed or interfered in any manner by the defendants," Justice Agarwal said.

Both Justices Khan and Agarwal were also of the view that the rest of the area be shared by Hindus, Muslims and Nirmohi Akhara.

"The area within the inner courtyard (where disputed structure stood) denoted by letters B C D L K J H G in Appendix 7 (excluding (i) above) belong to members of both the communities, i.e., Hindus (here plaintiffs, Suit-5) and Muslims since it was being used by both since decades and centuries," Justice Agarwal said adding that a portion of outer courtyard in declared in the favour of Nirmohi Akhara.

Justice Khan said that "both the parties are declared to be joint title holders in possession of the entire premises in dispute and a preliminary decree to that effect is passed with the condition that at the time of actual partition by meets and bounds at the stage of preparation of final decree the portion beneath the Central dome where at present make shift temple stands will be allotted to the share of the Hindus".

He also said that Nirmohi Akhara will also be allotted a share including areas of Ram Chabutara and Sita Rasoi.

In his gist of findings, Justice Khan said the disputed structure was constructed as mosque by or under the orders of Babar but it is not proved by direct evidence that the premises in dispute including constructed portion belonged to Babar or the person who built it.

He also said that no temple was demolished for constructing the mosque as it was built over the ruins of temple which was lying for a very long time.

However, Justice Sharma ruled that the disputed site is the birth place of Lord Ram and that the disputed building constructed by Mughal emperor Babur was built against the tenets of Islam and did not have the character of the mosque.

He said "it is also established that Hindus have been worshipping the place in dispute as Janamsthan, i.e., a birth place as deity and visiting it as a sacred place of pilgrimage as of right since time immemorial."

The other highlights of the eagerly awaited judgement were that idols of Ram were sneaked into the Babri mosque in December 1949 and that archaeological evidence proved that a temple had existed at the mosque site.

Thursday's judicial fiat marked the end of a chapter in a more than a century-old Hindu-Muslim dispute that has its genesis in 1528 when a military commander of Babar is said to have built a three-domed mosque named after the emperor.

The row took a new twist in December 1949 when idols of Ram were sneaked into the mosque, leading to daily Hindu prayers. The present case kicked off in January 1950 in a court in Faizabad, Ayodhya's twin town.

The emotive movement took a volatile turn in the 1980s when Hindu groups began mobilizing the community so as to build a grand Ram temple at the Babri mosque site. It quickly escalated Hindu-Muslim tensions.

The issue led to the worst eruption of Hindu-Muslim violence after India's 1947 independence when Hindu mobs demolished the Babri mosque in December 1992, leaving over 2,000 people dead across the country.

Hindu activists quickly erected a makeshift temple on the ruins of the mosque.

-Agencies inputs

First Published: Thursday, September 30, 2010, 20:54

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