The Supreme Court has delivered its verdict on the Ram Janmabhoomi–Babri Masjid land dispute in Ayodhya, marking another chapter in a centuries-old religious dispute that is the country’s most politically divisive row.
The case, which has spanned centuries of religious history and languished in the legal system for almost seven decades, has finally seen a closure, as a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi pronounced its verdict. In a unanimous judgment, the Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has ordered that a temple must be constructed at the disputed site and the Muslims must be compensated with five acres of land at a prominent place in Ayodhya. The court also ordered the Central government to formulate a scheme within three months to implement this order.
Thousands of paramilitary force members and police have been deployed in Ayodhya, where the Babri Masjid mosque was razed in 1992 by hardline Hindus who believe the site is the birthplace of Lord Ram.
The government has stepped up security not just in Ayodhya but across the country and security forces have been put on a high alert. A verdict in favour of building a Ram Temple at Ayodhya would be seen as a political victory for Modi, who won a second term in a landslide general election win this year. Section 144 has also been imposed in the state in Uttar Pradesh.