India’s Top Court Hands Over Babri Mosque Land to Hindus

“The entire demolition was carried out in an orchestrated manner”: Justice MS Liberhan, the man who indicted 68 members of the Sangh Parivar, including BJP stalwarts such as LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Atal Behari Vajpayee, along with a few police officers.

DESPARDES — The Supreme Court of India on Saturday, while announcing its verdict on a disputed land where Hindu hardliners demolished a 16th century mosque in 1992, ruled in favor of the Hindus and said that a temple will be constructed on the Ayodhya land.

“There is adequate material in ASI report to conclude the following: Babri Masjid not constructed on vacant land. There was a structure underlying the disputed structure. The underlying structure was not an Islamic structure,” India’s top court said in a historic judgement aimed at ending a bitter and decades-old legal and sectarian battle.

The court also noted that the demolition of 460-year-old Babri Mosque in 1992 was a violation of law and ordered that five-acre alternative land in a suitable, prominent place, be provided to Muslims for a mosque. The land for the mosque will be acquired by the government, the court ruled.

Speaking about the Ayodhya judgment to Indian paper Mumbai Mirror, Justice MS Liberhan, the man who indicted 68 members of the Sangh Parivar, including BJP stalwarts such as LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Atal Behari Vajpayee, along with a few police officers, in the Babri Masjid demolition case, said “I can’t say much about the Supreme Court judgment – good or bad, the Supreme Court is the Supreme Court.”

Justice Liberhan submitted his report in June 2009, during the tenure of Manmohan Singh as prime minister. The report found that the entire demolition was carried out in an orchestrated manner.

The court’s unanimous decision is likely to have a significant impact on fraught relations between India’s Hindus and Muslims, who constitute more than 14 per cent of its 1.34 billion people.

The Sunni Muslim group involved in the case said it would likely file a review petition, which could trigger another protracted legal battle.

“This is not justice,” the group’s lawyer, Zafaryab Jilani, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

In 1992, a Hindu mob estimated to number 200,000 destroyed the Babri mosque, reducing it to rubble.

Authorities increased the security in Ayodhya, 550 kilometers east of New Delhi, and deployed more than 5,000 paramilitary forces to prevent any attacks by Hindu activists on Muslims, who comprise 6% of the town’s more than 55,500 people.

The town is located in the norther state of Uttar Pradesh where the Muslim community forms the largest religious minority.

Assembly of more than four people at one place has also been banned in and around the town.

The security outside the residences of the five judges on the constitution bench was beefed up in Delhi, said India Today. Chief Justice Gogoi’s security was upgraded to Z-plus.

The Uttar Pradesh government ordered all the schools and colleges to remain closed until Monday.

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