Muslim side lost though critical factors favoured them

Muslims offer sweets to each other after Supreme Court's verdict outside the Shah-e-alam shrine in Ahmedabad, India, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. The apex court on Saturday cleared the way for the construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed site at Ayodhya, and directed the Centre to allot a 5-acre plot to the Sunni Waqf Board for building a mosque. (PTI Photo)

The Muslim side led by Sunni Central Waqf Board on Saturday lost the legal battle in the Ayodhya dispute, even though the Supreme Court decreed the suit partly in their favour by giving then an alternate land in order to remedy the wrongs committed with them.

The Muslims were ousted from the 1500 square yards of the mosque through acts of damage during communal riots in 1934, desecration in the intervening night of December 22-23 of 1949 when idols were placed inside the mosque, and finally, the demolition of the mosque in 1992, the court noted.

They were wrongly deprived of a mosque, constructed well over 450 years ago, the five-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.

Despite noting these observations, the top court concluded, “The Sunni Central Waqf Board has not established its case of dedication by a user.”

The court also said the Sunni Waqf Board failed to meet the requirement of its alternate plea of adverse possession.



On the other hand, the bench said, “The Hindus have been in exclusive and unimpeded possession of the outer courtyard where they have continued worship.”

Despite the existence of a mosque, Hindu worship at the place believed to be the birth-place of Lord Ram was not restricted. “The existence of an Islamic structure at a place considered sacrosanct by the Hindus did not stop them from continuing their worship at the disputed site and within the precincts of the structure,” the court said.

The structure of the mosque did not shake the faith and belief of Hindus that Lord Ram was born at the site, it added.

Even after the setting up of the 'Ramchabutra' in about 1857, pilgrims used to pay obeisance to what they believed to be the 'Garbh Grih' inside the three-domed structure while standing at the iron railing established by the British in 1858, which divided the inner and outer courtyards, it noted.

“There is no evidence by the Muslims to indicate that their possession of the disputed structure of the mosque was exclusive and that the offering of namaz was exclusionary of the Hindus,” the bench said.

The Hindu worship at Ramchabutra, Sita Rasoi and at other religious places including the setting up of a Bhandar clearly indicated their open, exclusive and unimpeded possession of the outer courtyard.

Despite the construction of the wall by the British and the Ramchabutra in close-proximity of the inner dome, Hindus continued to assert their right to pray inside the three-domed structure. Testimonies of both Hindu and Muslim witnesses indicate that on religious occasions and festivals such as Ram Navami, Sawan Jhoola, Kartik Poornima, Parikrama Mela and Ram Vivah, large congregations of Hindu devotees visited the disputed premises for darshan.

However, the receiver took possession of the inner courtyard on the installation of idols on December 22-23, 1949.

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