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Ayodhya verdict: the long wait ends today


Ashok Bagriya,CNN-IBN
Sep 30, 2010 at 07:26pm IST

New Delhi: A 60-year legal battle ends today (Thursday) as the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court will pronounce the verdict in the Ayodhya title suit in the Babri Masjid and Ram janambhoomi case. The verdict is one of the longest running and contentious cases of independent India

As the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court prepares to adjudicate on one of the longest running and contentious cases of independent india the Babri Masjid-Ram janambhoomi dispute. Here’s a look at what really are the legal issues involved in the case and what is likely to be decided by the courts.

It’s the longest running legal dispute in India. Call it what you will - Babri dispute or Ram Mandir dispute - it all simply boils down to who owns 60 sq ft by 40 ft land in Ayodhya. A place where the Babri Masjid used to stand till December 6, 1992.

It’s a dispute which actually dates back to 1885 when the first petition was filed by the head of the Nirmohi Akhara asking for permission to offer prayers to Ram Lalla inside what was known as the Babri Masjid.

That permission was never given. But the following year in 1886, district Judge of Faizabad court..F.E.A Chamier gave his verdict - "It is most unfortunate that a masjid should have been built on land specially held sacred by the Hindus, but as that event occurred 356 years ago, it is too late now to remedy the grievance."

Since then, that is, from 1950 onwards a total of five title suits were filed in the Allahabad High Court, four in favour of Hindus and one from the Sunni Waqf Board - all staking claim to the title of the plot of land of the Babri Mosque.

It’s these title suits, which are now going to be decided by this three-judge bench of the Allahabad High Court that comprises Justice Agarwal, Justice Sharma and Justice Khan who now have to answer the following questions:

First, did a temple exist at the disputed site before 1528 when Mir Baqi constructed the Babri Masjid?

Second, whether the suit filed by Sunni Waqf Board in 1961 was barred by time limitation?

Third, was Ayodhya really the birth place of Lord Ram? And is there evidence to show that Hindus have been worshipping this place for a long time.

Fourth, if Muslims had abandoned the mosque in 1934?

Fifth, and was the appearance of Ram Lalla's idols inside the Babri Mosque area really an act of miracle?

These are all questions which have been deliberated extensively over the past six decades. The challenge before the court is that it is being asked to give its verdict not just on matters of fact but also matters of faith.

" Courts go by facts, not by what you or someone else may feel. Faith is not something that courts pay any special attention to," said Harish Salve.

There is yet another legal dimension to the Ayodhya dispute. The criminal case, which was filed against several top Sangh Parivar leaders including L.K. Advani himself. That case continues to linger. On September 24, once the civil aspect of the case gets clearer, it will be the criminal aspect, perhaps, which will gain in prominence.

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