The Supreme Court of India has handed over the dispute site in Ayodhya to a trust for the purpose of constructing a temple to Ram, while Muslims have been given an alternate location ‘in a prominent location’ for the construction of a mosque.
The judgement was based on historical and archaeological evidence that suggested that the Mosque was built over a pre-Islamic construction and that Hindus have traditionally been worshiping at the site, even as the Mosque stood there.
The task for setting up the Trust has been entrusted to the government. The scheme that the government comes up with ‘should provide for the construction of a Ram temple’ at the site, the five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.
“A suitable plot of land measuring 5 acres to be handed over to Sunni Waqf Board either by Central Government or State Government,” it added.
Sunni Wakf Board at liberty to construct a mosque at the allotted land, it said.
The court ruled that there is no document to prove that Muslims have legal ownership of the land.
“The Muslims have not brought evidence to show possessory title, there is no evidence to show the offer of Namaz by Muslims to the exclusion of Hindus,” it said.
Hindus have been able to establish unimpeded possession of outer courtyard, it pointed out. “From documentary evidence it emerges that prior to 1857, there was no exclusion of Hindus from worshiping at the site,” it said.
The Ayodhya debate centres around the land known today as Ram Janmabhoomi, on which the Babri Mosque was built in 1528.
In the Ramayana, Ayodhya is the birthplace of the god-king Rama, the son of Dasharatha, the ruler of Ayodhya, and his queen Kausalya.
The first recorded instances of religious violence in Ayodhya occurred in the 1850s over a nearby mosque at Hanuman Garhi.
The Babri mosque was attacked by Hindus in the process. Since then, Hindu groups made occasional demands that they should have the possession of the site and that they should be allowed to build a temple on the site, all of which were denied by the British colonial government.
The Babri mosque was brought down by Hindu activists in 1992 under the watch of a Congress government at the center.
The case was earlier heard by the Allahabad High Court, which eight years ago ruled that the 2.77 acres of land be divided into 3 parts, with a third going the Hindu Maha Sabha for the construction of the Ram temple, a third going to the Islamic Sunni Waqf Board and the remaining third going to a Hindu religious denomination Nirmohi Akhara.