AYODHYA VERDICT

Supporters of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad organization celebrate the Indian Supreme Court's verdict on disputed religious site in Ayodhya awarded to Hindus, in Ahmedabad on Nov. 9. (Sam Panthaky/AFP via Getty Images)

NEW DELHI (IANS) — In a historic judgement in the sensitive Ayodhya land dispute case, the Supreme Court Nov. 9 directed the Center to form within three months a trust which will build a temple at the disputed site.

The Sunni Waqf Board, which was a party to the 7-decade-old title suit, should be given an alternate five-acre land at some other suitable place for construction of a mosque, a 5-member bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, said in a unanimous judgement.

Hailing the Supreme Court verdict in Ayodhya title dispute case, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it marks a "new dawn" for the country where "fear, bitterness and negativity" should have no place.

In a televised address to the nation, he highlighted the date - Nov. 9 - on which the historic judgement came, and noted it was on this day that the Berlin Wall had been brought down 30 years back and it is on this day that Kartarpur corridor was opened with Pakistan.

Noting that it had taken seven decades to resolve the Ayodhya dispute, the Prime Minister said it is time to think about the future now as the country has a lot of milestones to achieve.

"This controversy may have affected many generations, but after this decision, we have to make a resolution that now a new generation will start building a new India. This decision of the Supreme Court has brought a new dawn for us," he said.

"Now as a society, every Indian has to work by giving priority to his duty. Harmony, unity and peace are very important for the development of the country," Modi emphasized.

The Center shall make suitable provisions by handing over the land to the trust, said the Supreme Court, which also comprised Chief Justice-designate Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde, Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud.

The court said the title of the land can be decided only on legal advice.

The top court ruled that the Allahabad High Court verdict of 2010, giving land to the Sunni Waqf Board and Nirmohi Akhara, was wrong.

It rejected the claim of Nirmohi Akhara of being a 'shebait' (a devotee who serves the deity).

The Supreme Court, however, said that in the board of trustees, appropriate representation should be accorded to Nirmohi Akhara, even though its suit was dismissed.

The bench upheld the report of Archaeological Survey of India, which concluded that a temple existed at the disputed site.

There is clear evidence the Hindus believed Ram was born at the disputed site, it said.

There is evidence that 'Ram Chabutra' and 'Sita Rasoi' were worshipped by Hindus before the British came, the judgement said.

The court said travelogue and gazetteers cannot be the basis of adjudication of the title and that the nature of worship offered by Hindus over the years proves that they had always believed that Lord Ram was at the site.

Documents of 1856-57 show that Hindus were not obstructed from worshiping there, it said. Outer courtyard has been under exclusive possession of Hindus over the years, the court said.

The bench said Hindus consider the disputed site as the birthplace of Lord Ram and this belief is beyond judicial scrutiny.

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