Dashing hopes that the long running Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute had achieved closure after the Supreme Court’s November 9 verdict, three more Muslim litigants have said they would file review petitions against the ruling. With this a total of seven litigants – including those under the aegis of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board and the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind – have declared their intention to go for review. The apex court had ordered the Centre to set up a trust to build a Ram temple on the 2.77-acre disputed land where the demolished Babri Masjid once stood. Meanwhile, it had allotted five acres of land for the construction of a mosque at a prominent place in Ayodhya.
Given the complexity of the case, the Supreme Court tried hard to be fair to all sides. However, some Muslim litigants are still not fully satisfied with the verdict. After all, the Babri Masjid stood at the disputed site in living memory and was violently brought down by kar sevaks backed by saffron parties – which the apex court emphatically recognised as a crime. Yet, the verdict essentially left the saffron parties with what they wanted.
It is time, therefore, for RSS and BJP to do their bit to arrive at closure – they must be magnanimous and reach out to the Muslim side. This would also be in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s slogan of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas’. The Centre as well as UP government should be proactive, giving Muslims several options on the five acres of land to build a mosque, consulting them on what help they might need for this. They could even help fund construction of the mosque, paving the way for communal harmony across the country and immeasurably strengthening India. Ayodhya now calls for a political resolution, not judicial review.
This piece appeared as an editorial opinion in the print edition of The Times of India.