Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said the Ayodhya verdict should not be viewed as a victory or loss for anybody. “Be it Ram Bhakti or Rahim Bhakti, it is imperative that we strengthen the spirit of Rashtra Bhakti [devotion to the nation],” he tweeted. The prime minister said that the verdict was notable as it highlighted that any matter of conflict can be resolved amicably “in the spirit of due process of law”.
He said, “It reaffirms the independence, transparency and farsightedness of our judiciary. It clearly illustrates everybody is equal before the law.” He added that the court had “amicably concluded” a case that had been going on for decades. “Every side, every point of view was given adequate time and opportunity to express differing points of view. This verdict will further increase people’s faith in judicial processes.”
Modi said the peace and calm maintained by Indians today ahead of the verdict also “manifests India’s inherent commitment to peaceful coexistence”.
Earlier in the day, a five-judge Constitution Bench ruled in favour of the construction of a temple for the deity Ram at the disputed site in Ayodhya and asked the Centre to set up a trust for it. It also asked the government to provide a separate five-acre plot for the construction of a mosque.
However, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board on Saturday said it would file a review petition to challenge the Ayodhya verdict if its committee agreed to do so, ANI reported.
“The judgement is against our expectations,” Zafaryab Jilani, a member of the AIMPLB said after the ruling. “We presented solid evidence to prove our stance. Our legal committee will review the judgement. We have sincerely tried to fulfil our responsibility to restore the demolished Babri Masjid.”
Iqbal Ansari, a litigant in the case, said he respects the verdict.
‘Respect the verdict’
Several politicians and leaders from across party lines reacted to the landmark Ayodhya verdict.
The Congress said it supports the top court’s ruling as it “opened the doors for the temple’s construction”, and the Bharatiya Janata Party would no longer be able to “politicise the matter”. Party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala urged everyone to respect the verdict, adding that it should not be viewed as a matter of credit or discredit to any individual, group, communities or political parties.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said it is a time for “brotherhood, trust and love” among all Indians. “The Supreme Court has pronounced its verdict on the Ayodhya issue,” Gandhi tweeted. “While honouring this decision of the court, we all should maintain mutual harmony. This is a time for brotherhood, trust and love among us all Indians.”
The Nationalist Congress Party in Maharashtra welcomed the judgement. “The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision will help address a serious concern before the country,” party chief Sharad Pawar said, according to PTI. “The judiciary has talked about protecting interests of all the sections of the society. It is a good thing. I urge all the people of the country that an important, landmark judgement has been given. All sections of the society should welcome and respect it.”
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar claimed the verdict would be beneficial for India’s social harmony. “There should be no further dispute on this issue, that is my appeal to the people,” he added. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said the verdict will “further strengthen the social fabric of the country, PTI reported.
Janata Dal (Secular) chief HD Deve Gowda called the verdict a “balancing decision”. “Only my feeling is the poor people who built the Babri Masjid about 300 to 400 years back and the people who are fighting now you cannot blame our minority friends,” he said. “What happened in the past, so that is a big issue. So I don’t want to go to the past.”
Deve Gowda’s son and former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy asked people to follow the country’s “founding principles of peace and non-violence”, in a tweet.
Karnataka BJP chief Nalin Kumar Kateel said that all parties to the case should come together to build the Ram temple, considering it as the construction of a “Rashtra Mandir” (national temple). The verdict displays the collective consensus of the nation, keeping in view the common interest, and is above caste, creed or religion, he added.
Left parties said that the verdict should not be seen as a victory for anybody, and that no one should indulge in any “provocative acts”, PTI reported. “The court judgment has itself stated that the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992 was a violation of law,” a statement by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said. “This was a criminal act and an assault on the secular principle.”
However, the CPI(M) also said that certain premises of the judgement are “questionable”.
The Communist Party of India said the Supreme Court had delivered a “conciliatory” judgement. “This should be seen in the larger perspective of ethics, justice and secularism,” the party said.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati appealed to everyone to maintain an amicable atmosphere while “respecting the historic decision”. “This is an appeal and suggestion,” she said.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said “India is the winner” after the judgment. His office tweeted: “Let’s leave the past behind and move towards building an India of peace, harmony and prosperity. India is the winner from this judgement. Our desire and ability to live together has triumphed.”
‘Appeal to public to maintain peace and calm,’ says Rajnath Singh
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh described the verdict as a landmark judgement, while Home Minister Amit Shah expressed gratitude to “all groups, countless unknown people who strived for legal resolution of Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute”.
“I appeal to public to maintain peace and calm,” Singh said, according to ANI. Union minister Nitin Gadkari said that everyone should accept the ruling and urged the public to maintain peace.
Former Vishwa Hindu Parishad chief Praveen Togadia said the Supreme Court judgement was a salute to the “sacrifice of lakhs of workers”. “We welcome it happily and request the central government that it should to be grateful to recognise this sacrifice of all,” he added. “We have confidence that the government now would build a grand Ram temple at Ayodhya soon. We also appeal all to maintain democratic peace while expressing joy.”
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa asked people to laud the top court’s ruling. “Let us all wholeheartedly welcome the apex court verdict,” PTI quoted him as saying. “This is neither a victory for anyone, nor a defeat for anyone. Don’t react emotionally. Let the harmony and peace prevail.”