The Supreme Court verdict allowing Hindus to build a temple at Ayodhya was a mixed bag of emotions for the people of this historic town. While Hindus were ecstatic with the court’s verdict, Muslims were disappointed to find no mention of the exact place where they would be provided five acres of land to build a mosque. For them, a mosque within Ayodhya remains a priority.
Earlier in the day, the five-judge Constitution bench delivered its verdict on the decades-old dispute that had been a major cause of tensions between the Hindus and Muslims in the country. In anticipation of the verdict, the state administration had beefed up security, with outsiders not being allowed to enter the temple town. A large number of lanes and bylanes were barricaded forcing people to stay home. Once the verdict was out, groups of men huddled together to have detailed discussions.
Hindus went about congratulating each other and spoke at length about how the Supreme Court has finally corrected a historic wrong. “I have never been happier in my life,” said Sunita Gupta, a 40-year-old woman who owns a grocery store near the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid disputed site in Ayodhya. “Truth has finally won. Ayodhya will once again become Ram’s durbar. It’s a great decision not just for Hindus but also for Muslims,” she added.
A few metres away, Sanjay Kumar Pandey, a local priest, kept repeating how a huge Ram Temple would become pride of India. “After today’s verdict, Ayodhya has become great again. I have not seen Ram going into exile but today, I can see him returning to the place where he was born. This order would have come much earlier if it was not for the politicians who pitched Hindus against Muslims for political gains. Only if the Supreme Court had intervened earlier, this would have been resolved by now,” Pandey claimed.
Similar sentiments were echoed by Hindus all over Ayodhya with some even calling their relatives in other parts of the country to congratulate them. Young boys greeted their acquaintances with a loud ‘Jai Shree Ram’ and were heading for feasts being organised in local temples.
Meanwhile, Muslim neighbourhoods didn’t share a similar enthusiasm and men, huddled in groups, would refuse to speak about the verdict and repeatedly said that they would say what their leaders would say. Some said they welcome the decision but with a faded enthusiasm. “We have no issues with the court giving the land for a temple, but the court should have at least mentioned where will it give us the five acres of land. Will it be in Ayodhya town or anywhere else in the district?” asked Kaif Abbas of Syed Bada in Ayodhya.
Others said their only reason for supporting the verdict is to ensure peace. “People, especially Muslims, are fed up of these tensions. We don’t want any more curfews or shutdowns. We want peace. We don’t want our children to go through what we have endured. But it would have been nice of the Supreme Court to also clearly specify the exact location of the mosque land. It would have helped,” said Haji Mohammed.
Even Iqbal Ansari, one of the litigants in the case, reiterated this demand. “As I said earlier, we will abide by whatever the top court says and if someone has to celebrate or mourn, they should do it in their homes. However, if only the court would have shared this detail, Muslims too would have celebrated like our Hindu brothers. This is the only grouse we have,” said Ansari.
Some of the Muslims were also upset with All India Muslim Personal Law Board for its statements about filing a review petition against the verdict. They were upset that this could disturb peace in Ayodhya. Waqar Ahmed, a local politician, said, “Muslims of Ayodhya are happy with this settlement and a review petition could have serious repercussions for them. We want this chapter to close so that all of us can move forward. Ayodhya needs to move forward.”
However, most of them were happy with the preparedness of the police to ensure no incidents of violence were reported from Ayodhya. Praising the local administration for maintaining law and order, Ansari said, “I am thankful to the district administration for not allowing miscreants to disturb peace in Ayodhya.”
In anticipation of the verdict, security was beefed up in the town and surrounding areas which resulted in the day passing by without any law and order issue. Avinash Chandra, a local police official said that tough measures were taken to ensure there is no law and order problem.
“Hindus and Muslims in Ayodhya do not have any enmity, it’s the outsiders who create trouble in this town. In order to avoid that, we ensured that no outsiders are allowed in the town and only those with local identification cards were granted access,” Chandra said.
While Hindus are rejoicing in today’s verdict, Muslims are waiting for a piece of land in Ayodhya, if not justice.
Updated Date: Nov 10, 2019 09:07:22 IST