Lucknow: In a judgement much awaited by India, the Allahabad High Court on Thursday ruled that the spot at Ayodhya where a makeshift temple was built hastily after razing the Babri mosque in 1992 was indeed where Hindu god Ram was born, lawyers said.
Ayodhya land to be divided into three
By a majority decision, the Lucknow bench of the High Court also declared that the land around the disputed site would be divided into three parts -- one going to Hindus, another to Muslims and the third to Nirmohi Akhara, a Hindu sect and a litigant in the case.
Lawyers K N Bhat and Ravi Shankar Prasad, representing two of the Hindu litigants, said the bench had decided that Lord Ram was born where the Babri mosque was built in the 16th century.
"All the three judges, including S.U. Khan, are unanimous in accepting that the idol of Ram cannot be removed from the place where it is installed right now," Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
Dismissing the 60-year-old title suit filed by the Sunni Waqf Board, the judges said that none of the litigants would take any action on the land for the next three months.
"We are party disappointed. We will approach the Supreme Court," Sunni Waqf Board lawyer Zafaryab Jillani told reporters.
Minutes after the ruling, Ravi Shankar Prasad, who is also a leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), urged Muslims to help in the construction of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya, an Uttar Pradesh town about 700 km from New Delhi.
"After this ruling, I make a humble appeal to the Muslims of this country, please accept this verdict, please help in the construction of a temple... It will lead to a new brotherhood in the country," he said.
The lawyer added that he was making the appeal not as a BJP leader but as a citizen of India.
"It is definitely in favour of the Hindus," said H.S. Jain, counsel for the Hindu Mahasabha. He said he too would approach the Supreme Court to campaign against the land given to the Sunni Waqf Board.
Leading theatre personality Aamir Reza Hussain said it was time for Muslims to give up the land for a Ram temple.
Special: Ayodhya verdict
"It absolutely the time to heal the wounds, and to let it go," he said.
The ruling followed years of litigation that at one staged threatened to rip apart the country's communal fabric.