The Allahabad High Court's verdict in the Ayodhya land case on Thursday is a complicated one but it may have built the ground for an amicable settlement to the dispute.
The Lucknow bench of the High Court said that the disputed land in Ayodhya where a makeshift temple was built after demolishing the Babri Mosque in 1992 was Lord Ram's birthplace. However, it ruled that the land be split among three contesting parties -- Hindu Mahasabha, Nirmohi Akhara and Sunni Waqf Board -- equally.
A three-judge bench of the court invited suggestions from all the parties for demarcation of the land. Suggestions for an amicable settlement in the dispute would depend on what the contesting parties do after the court verdict.
The parties may first and foremost move the Supreme Court. The Sunni Waqf Board and the Hindu Mahasabha have already indicated that they might do so. They are "partly disappointed" by the High Court verdict, but at the same time they maintain "it's a step forward."
The second option is to amicably work out the demarcation of the disputed premises as directed by the High Court. This could mean co-existence of Mandir and Masjid at the disputed site.
Lawyer and BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday appealed Muslims to respect the sentiments of Hindus and help in building a Ram temple in Ayodhya. "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.
Zafaryab Jilani, Mushtaq Ahmed Siddiqui and Syed Irfan Ahmed, the lawyers representing the Muslim side in the Babri suit, had earlier in the day said in a joint statement that Lord Ram had been described as "Imam-e-Hind" by the poet Allama Iqbal. "The personality of Lord Ram is not at all in dispute in the Ayodhya case," they said.
Even Hari Shankar Jain, Counsel for Hindu Mahasabha, has said: "The status quo at the disputed is not going to get disturbed. It's a title suit and the party losing the case will have enough time to appeal before the Supreme Court. We will be building 'Rashtra Mandir' and not Ram Mandir in which all communities should come forward to build."
The parties' statement gives hope for an amicable settlement but much would depend on their action.