India SC rules to hand over Babri Mosque land to Hindus


India’s top court cleared the way on Saturday for a Hindu temple to be constructed at a hotly disputed holy site, in a huge victory for Hindu nationalists under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Supreme Court ruled that the site in Ayodhya in northern India, where Hindu mobs destroyed a 460-year-old mosque in 1992, must be handed over to a trust to oversee the construction of a Hindu temple, subject to conditions.
A Hindu devotee celebrates after Supreme Court's verdict on a disputed religious site, in Ayodhya, India, November 9, 2019. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
A Hindu devotee celebrates after Supreme Court’s verdict. PHOTO REUTERS
A separate piece of land in Ayodhya would be given over to Muslim groups to build a new mosque, the court ruled in a historic judgement aimed at ending a bitter and decades-old legal and sectarian battle.
Ahead of the verdict Indian authorities ramped up security across the country and Modi called for calm as police went on alert.
Thousands of extra personnel deployed and schools closed in and around the northern city of Ayodhya, centre of the bitter dispute, and elsewhere.
Barricades were erected on roads leading to the Supreme Court building in New Delhi with officials and volunteers scouring social media for inflammatory posts in what is Facebook’s biggest market.
The verdict, it is hoped, will put an end to an angry and at times arcane legal wrangle that British colonial rulers and even the Dalai Lama tried to mediate.
Hardliners among India’s majority Hindus, including supporters of Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), believe that Lord Ram was born in Ayodhya.
They say that in the 16th century, Babur, the first emperor of the Mughal Islamic dynasty, built a mosque on top of a temple at the 2.8-acre site.
In the 1980s, as Hindu nationalism and the BJP began to strengthen, pressure grew for the mosque to be knocked down and replaced by a glorious Hindu temple.
In 1992, a Hindu mob estimated to number 200,000 did just that, reducing the mosque to rubble.
This unleashed some of the worst religious riots since India’s bloody partition at the end of British colonial rule in 1947, leaving around 2,000 people dead, mainly Muslims.
Ten years later in 2002, after 59 Hindu activists died in a blaze on a train from Ayodhya, riots in Gujarat state — when Modi was its chief minister — saw upwards of 1,000 people perish, again largely Muslims.
In 2010, a high court ruled that Muslims and Hindus should split it — albeit unevenly, with Hindus granted the lion’s share.
This left no one happy. Both Hindu and Muslim groups appealed and the Supreme Court in 2011 stayed the lower court’s ruling, leaving the issue unresolved.
The case also involves a nonagenarian lawyer representing a Hindu deity and has seen a high drama including a lawyer representing Muslim groups tearing a purported ancient map showing the temple.
The BJP has campaigned for years for a temple to be built at Ayodhya, and the verdict is a major victory for the party, just months into Modi’s second term.
But it will also send shudders through many in the 200-million-strong Muslim minority who fear that the BJP is bent on turning India into a purely Hindu nation.
Modi is nevertheless desperate to avoid bloodshed and ahead of the verdict, the BJP and the more hardline RSS organisation have told supporters to avoid any provocative celebrations.
Muslim groups have also appealed for calm.
“Whatever is the verdict by the Supreme Court, it won’t be anybody’s win or loss,” Modi tweeted late Friday.
“My appeal to the people of India is that our priority is to ensure the verdict strengthens the values of peace, equality and goodwill of our country.”
India’s Modi hails ‘amicable’ conclusion
Modi hailed the verdict, saying it had “amicably” ended a decades-old dispute

“The halls of justice have amicably concluded a matter going on for decades. Every side, every point of view was given adequate time and opportunity to express differing points of view. This verdict will further increase people’s faith in judicial processes,” Modi tweeted.
Indian Supreme Court on Saturday, in its order on a long-standing dispute over land in Ayodhya, said that a temple be constructed on the site, while acknowledging that the demolition of the 460-year-old Babri Mosque in 1992 was a violation of law.
The verdict was issued hours before the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor, which allows Indian Sikhs to arrive in Pakistan without a visa for pilgrimage to the shrine of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism.
The verdict, that is likely to affect the already fraught relationship between India's Muslim and Hindu communities, sparked strong reactions from politicians and journalists in Pakistan, who questioned the merit of the judgement and also raised questions over the timing.

Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif called the verdict a "travesty of justice".
"Indian SC judgement in land dispute of Babri Masjid represents travesty of justice," he tweeted. "It is yet another sign of how saffron ideology is eating into the vitals of Indian society and entire secularism project is collapsing brick by brick. Indian Muslims are being pushed against the wall."

Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari said that the verdict marked the "end of facade of secular India".
In a tweet, she noted that India's top court "[accepted] that desecration of Mosque was [against] the law and [held] forth on control of inner and outer areas etc. the core of judgement is: disputed land to be given to a Board of Trustees to build Ram Mandir. Muslims to be given alternate land!"
"So basically Hindutva wins as SC creates a Trust to be handed land to build temple saying mosque cannot be on that site! End of facade of secular India. Indian SC in tune with Hindutva narrative of Modi!"

Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry, in a tweet, termed the verdict as "shameful, disgusting, illegal and immoral".

MNA Asad Umar warned that "extremist views [...] are now becoming pervasive in the state institutions of India also".
He further said: "As extremist, xenophobic thought takes control of Indian state and society, nuclear India emerges as biggest threat to global peace."

JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman issued a statement and said: "We condemn the Indian Supreme Court's verdict [...] it reflects narrow-mindedness. India has failed in protecting its minorities."

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, while talking to DawnNewsTV, questioned the timing of the verdict.
"Couldn't it (the verdict) wait for a couple of days?" he asked. "I believe that extreme insensitivity has been shown on a happy occasion and I am greatly saddened."
In a separate conversation with Geo News, Qureshi said that the ministry will examine the verdict and issue a statement on the contents.

PPP Senator Sherry Rehman pointed out that while Pakistan was opening the Kartarpur Corridor for Indian Sikhs, the Indian Supreme Court had announced a verdict against the Muslim community.
"This is a reflection of a new India that we should understand. There is no pretence that their (India's) constitution or any institution will provide any protection to Muslims," she said while speaking to Geo News.
"You have seen how they are treating non-citizens in Assam. On the other hand, Pakistan's treatment towards its non-citizens is completely opposite where [the state] wants their integration in society."
She also criticised the government for not protesting against India's actions.

PPP Senator Rehman Malik noted the timing of the verdict and said: "PM Modi/RSS once again demonstrated anti-Muslim syndromes and anti-Sikh sentiments to have the judgement to replace the temple/Mander with Babari Masjid on the day of opening of “Kartarpur Sikh holy corridor" today (sic).This is the anti-peace message from PM Modi to Pakistan today."

Sindh Governor Imran Ismail said: "What a shameful decision by Indian Supreme Court. Pakistan on the other hand is restoring Kartapur while India is destroying historical mosque. @ImranKhanPTI showing gesture towards minorities and @narendramodi proving his loyalties with RSS. Indians must reject this extremism."

The journalist community also expressed disappointment over the verdict. Former Dawn editor Abbas Nasir tweeted: "BJP and the Indian Supreme Court joining hands to vindicate Jinnah. Well done."

Anchorperson Hamid Mir, while talking to Geo News, termed the verdict as a "political decision". He said that the announcement of the verdict on a weekend, which coincided with the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor, was also "political".
"I am forced to say that the Indian Supreme Court's verdict on Babri Mosque will [lead to] a fall in [the judiciary's] image and the structure of the Indian constitution."

Lawyer Taimur Malik said also criticised the Ayodhya verdict and said: "On this 9th day of Nov 2019, Pakistan’s civil and military institutions have won the hearts of an entire religious population by opening #KartarpurCorridor while India’s once famously independent judiciary has failed the country’s main religious minority through #AyodhyaJudgement."

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South Punjab News : India SC rules to hand over Babri Mosque land to Hindus
India SC rules to hand over Babri Mosque land to Hindus
Hindu mobs destroyed a 460-year-old mosque in 1992, must be handed over to a trust to oversee the construction of a Hindu temple, subject to conditions.
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South Punjab News
http://www.southpunjabnews.com/2019/11/india-sc-rules-to-hand-over-babri.html
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