The Indian Supreme Court’s judgment that cleared the way for the construction of a Ram temple on the disputed land in Ayodhya is based on law, not on faith, said an Indian diplomat in Dhaka.
“This is a legal issue relating to a title suit concerning ownership of land, not faith,” he told The Daily Star, following the landmark judgement yesterday.
The five-member bench of the Indian apex court gave the disputed Ayodhya land to Hindu entity Ramjanmabhumi Trust and ordered that an alternate 5-acre land, which lies in a prominent place in Ayodhya, be given to Muslims to build a mosque.
The Babri Masjid at the disputed area in Ayodhya was destroyed by Hindu activists on December 6, 1992, sparking riots across India that left at least 2,000 people dead.
The bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, has sought to put an end to the dispute that has often torn the secular and social fabric of the nation.
The judgement, which is a culmination of a long judicial process that began in 1950, took into account the archaeological evidence from the site, presented by the Archaeological Survey of India, which said that a pre-existing structure that was not Islamic underlines the disputed structure, the Indian official said.
“The Indian government is committed to ensuring the tradition of goodwill and harmony among all communities as well as our deep respect for safeguarding all places of worship,” the diplomat said.
The unanimous judgement by the five-member bench is not setting any precedent and will not lead to similar claims in other parts of India. It will not in any way infringe on the rights of India’s minority citizens, he said.
The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act 1991 of India prohibits any change in the religious and denominational character of a place of worship as it existed on August 15, 1947.
“The Act solely excludes the existing disputed property in Ayodhya because it was already sub judice at that time.
“Hence, there is no possibility of this judgement relating to the land in Ayodhya becoming a legal precedent under the provisions of this Act. As such, the judgement cannot be used to seek or claim or reclaim other places of worship, which may have been disputed.”
The 2.77-acre land will now be handed over to the Trust, to be formed by the central government in three months, to build the temple. The alternate 5-acre land will be allotted to the Sunni Waqf Board for the construction of a mosque.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen hoped the Indian Supreme Court verdict won’t cause any tension in Bangladesh and wished for peace to prevail in India as well, reports BSS.
“We won’t be tensed regarding this,” he told journalists after inaugurating the South Asian Karate Championship in the capital.
“We will expect that peace will prevail in India as well.”
The minister said the heritage of interfaith harmony in Bangladesh would help keep peace in Bangladesh where “all of us -- Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Buddhists -- are living in harmony.
“We will study the verdict [of Indian SC], but we will not be in tension,” he said.
The foreign minister said that he would request home ministry to be vigilant so that no one can create any tense situation in the country capitalising on the verdict.