India court splits mosque site between religions

[Why would Indian courts create an Indian equivalent of Jerusalem's divided and constantly fought over Temple Mount, in Ayodhya?  Over 2,000 Muslims died in street battles after insane mobs of Hindu rioters tore the Babri Mosque to the ground in 1992.  How many more lives will this decision cost?  This decision, in the current political environment, is very dangerous, perhaps being the spark that will ignite religious war on the sub-continent between nuclear-armed combatants.]

Babri Mosque, before being torn down by Hindu rioters in 1992.

babpica20030801004101302

India court splits mosque site between religions

Main Image

A model of a proposed Ram temple, which Hindus want to build on the site of the demolished Babri Mosque, is pictured in the northern Indian town of Ayodhya September 30, 2010.
Credit: REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta

Main Image

A Hindu priest shouts slogans as he celebrates after hearing the first reports of a court ruling in the northern Indian town of Ayodhya September 30, 2010.
Credit: REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta

Main Image

Sadhus or Hindu holymen hug each other to celebrate after hearing the first reports of a court ruling in the northern Indian town of Ayodhya September 30, 2010.
Credit: REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta

Main Image

Hindu priests shout slogans as they celebrate after hearing the first reports of a court ruling in the northern Indian town of Ayodhya September 30, 2010.
Credit: REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta

By Alka Pande

LUCKNOW, India | Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:45am EDT

(Reuters) – An Indian court ruled on Thursday that the site of a demolished mosque would be split between Hindus and Muslims, dousing immediate fears of a violent backlash in one of the country’s most religiously divisive cases.

The Uttar Pradesh court also ruled Hindus will be allowed to keep a makeshift temple that was built over the demolished central mosque dome, sparking celebrations by priests who dipped in a nearby river chanting “The temple is now ours.”

The 1992 demolition of the 16th century mosque in northern India by Hindu mobs triggered some of India’s worst riots that killed about 2,000 people. More than 200,000 police fanned out in India on Thursday to guard against any communal violence.

If the ruling soothes tensions, it would be a boost for the ruling Congress party, a left-of-center group with secular roots, that does not want to upset either voter bloc. Major political parties had called for calm.

The verdict came only days before Sunday’s opening of theCommonwealth Games in New Delhi, with the government wanting to project an image of stability and modernity to the world.

“Nobody has won. Nobody has lost,” Yashwant Sinha, a leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharat Janata Party, told local television. “Let’s not look at this as a victory for anyone.”

Muslims did appear the biggest losers. But Muslim organizations were measured in their response, careful not to inflame public tensions in a country where they account for only 13 percent of the 1.2 billion plus population.

There were no immediate reports of violence after the ruling.

“It was a very sensible judgment and the court has tried to balance the parties,” said Anil Verma, a political analyst. “Apportioning one-third to the Muslims means they have not completely lost.”

Commentators said the verdict was unlikely to spark widespread riots that hit the financial capital Mumbai and other cities in 1992. There is little electoral headway to be made in egging on religious riots in post-economic reform India.

The 2-1 majority verdict gave two-thirds of the key parts of the disputed land to Hindus — one third each to two different Hindu groups — and one third to Muslims.

Hindu inhabitants of Ayodhya town — under a security lockdown for a week — lit candles and lamps outside their homes.

MUSLIM DISAPPOINTMENT

Many Muslim organizations expressed some disappointment but called for reconciliation, resting hopes in an appeal by Muslim lawyers to the Supreme Court in New Delhi.

“The judgment can begin a process of reconciliation,” Kamal Farooqi, a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, said.

About these ads