The Ayodhya dispute, India’s longest-running historical, political and socio-religious debate, will culminate on Saturday when the country’s Supreme Court rules on the title suit of the 2.77 acre land in this Uttar Pradesh town that is claimed both by Hindus and Muslims.
There is unprecedented security in Uttar Pradesh as well as other parts of India with Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that the judgement would not be anyone’s “victory or defeat” but “would give strength to India’s tradition of peace, unity and amity”.
Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi on Friday held a meeting with the chief secretary and top police officers of Uttar Pradesh and took stock of security arrangements ahead of the verdict.
The verdict will be delivered by a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, and including Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer.
Litigants knocked on the top court’s door after a three-judge bench of the Allahabad High Court in September 2010 distributed the land equally between Ram Lalla Virajman, the Nirmohi Akhara and the Sunni Waqf Board. The court ruled 2:1 in favour of Hindus.
The distribution was stalled by the apex court in May, 2011 after both Hindus and Muslims challenged the high court verdict on nearly ten broad points.
The final hearing began on August 6, and continued on a daily basis till October 16.
The Ayodhya dispute has over the decades launched several independent and government-sponsored initiatives to determine whether a Hindu temple existed beneath the 16th Century Babri Masjid that was pulled down by right wing activists on December 6, 1992.
Hindu parties have traditionally believed that the site is the birthplace of Lord Ram – arguing on the premises of archeological evidence, faith and collective memory — while the Sunni Waqf Board argued the land where the Babri Masjid stood was waqf property.