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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

Ayodhya: The SC verdict could bring an end to a long and bitter dispute

By amicably executing the SC’s order, the country will only be displaying its famed tolerance.

editorials Updated: Nov 07, 2019 17:57 IST

Hindustan Times
Rapid Action Force (RPF) and Uttar Pradesh Police personnel patrol a street in Ayodhya on November 6, 2019
Rapid Action Force (RPF) and Uttar Pradesh Police personnel patrol a street in Ayodhya on November 6, 2019(AFP)
         

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath have done the right thing by appealing to all communities to maintain peace as the historical verdict on Ayodhya title suit draws closer. Not only has the PM asked his ministers to refrain from making any statements on the verdict, the BJP has issued a code of conduct for its office bearers. Now that the PM, often criticised for his silence when those in his party have made inflammatory statements, has made his stand clear, the Opposition would do well to follow suit and restrain the hotheads within its ranks. It is everyone’s duty, whether in power or out of it, to maintain the peace. In this context, the manner in which Muslim clerics have asked their community to accept the verdict, whichever way it goes, is welcome. The PM’s appeal assumes all the more significance as the governments in both Uttar Pradesh as well as the Centre are led by the BJP, which has been at the forefront of the Ram temple movement. Indeed, for years now, the BJP’s poll manifestos have mentioned the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.

The appeals for restraint have obviously been prompted, keeping in mind the violence of the early 1990s when frenzied crowds would gather at Ayodha on all landmark dates related to the issue. These included the laying of the foundation for the temple in 1989 and the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992. This time around, the BJP-VHP-RSS combine has not issued any call to its workers to reach the temple city. Hindu religious leaders have also stayed away from making any statements and have, instead, sent out letters telling the faithful to avoid any form of celebration should the verdict go their way. The history of the disputed site has seen deep divisions between Hindus and Muslims. The first suit in the case was filed on January 19, 1885. Since then, until a possible resolution of the dispute this month, the legal case over the ownership of the disputed site has seen many twists and turns, few peaceful.

In September 2010, when the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court delivered a split verdict in the Ayodhya title suit, the losing party had the option of moving the higher courts. The apex court’s judgment is considered final though the losing party can still go on appeal.

By amicably executing the Supreme Court’s order, the country will only be displaying its famed tolerance. Governments, political parties and the people must respect the apex court verdict on an issue that they themselves could not resolve all these years.