The Congress on Saturday welcomed the Supreme Court verdict in the Babri Masjid demolition case and said it is in favour of Ram temple construction.
Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “We are in favour of the construction of Ram Temple. This judgement not only opened the doors for the temple’s construction but also closed the doors for BJP and others to politicise the issue.”
In a resolution passed by the Congress Working Committee chaired by party chief Sonia Gandhi, the Congress said, “We appeal to all parties concerned and to all communities to abide by the secular values and spirit of fraternity enshrined in our Constitution and to maintain peace and harmony.”
“It is the responsibility of each one of us to reaffirm our tradition of mutual respect and unity among all that has defined our society through the ages,” Surjewala quoted the resolution as saying.
More than two decades after it was destroyed by marauding Hindu mobs, the disputed land, where the historical Babri Masjid once stood, was awarded to Hindus by the Supreme Court for the construction of Ram temple on Saturday. The apex court gave the disputed Ayodhya land to the Ramjanmabhoomi Trust and ordered that an alternative piece of land, which lies in a ‘suitable’ and ‘prominent’ place in Ayodhya be given to the Muslims to build a mosque.
The apex court judgement came after 40 continuous days of hearings on a batch of petitions challenging Allahabad High Court’s order trifurcating the 2.77 acres of the disputed land at Ayodhya into three equal parts to Ram Lalla, Sunni Waqf Board and Nirmohi Akhara. A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices S.A. Bobde, D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer conducted the hearings.
The Babri Masjid in Ayodhya was razed to the ground on December 6, 1992, by extremists Hindus, claiming that it was built on the site of a temple allegedly destroyed by Muslim rulers. The demolition of the medieval mosque, which was constructed under the rule of the first Mughal Emperor Babar, triggered religious riots in many parts of India that resulted in the death of more than 1000 people.
Congress Party’s role in demolition of Babri Masjid
In 1986, Rajiv Gandhi got UP Chief Minister Bir Bahadur Singh to open the locks to the Babri Masjid, giving access to Hindus. Until then, a priest had been permitted to perform puja once a year for the idols stealthily installed there in 1949. In 1989, it was Rajiv Gandhi who permitted the shilanyas ceremony, when the first stone of the planned temple was put in place.
Congress’s Narasimha Rao was prime minister in a coalition government when the Ayodhya movement restarted, led by L.K. Advani. Rao went quiet and was unavailable for 48 hours during the crucial period of the demolition of the Masjid and after.
The dispute over the land has been going on for several decades, with both Hindu and Muslim groups claiming their right to it.