The Supreme Court ordered the Allahabad High Court to delay its verdict on the ownership of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya. The central and state governments of India are preparing the nation for the outcome of the verdict, which many fear could have raised religious tensions.
The government has banned temporarily issuing bulk SMSes with the fear that the fanatics may spread their message of violent attacks fast. All state governments have appealed to the people to be calm whatever the verdict might be. On international peace day governments ordered all offices to take pledge that they would observe peace.
The decades-old case over the Babri mosque of 16th century has been biggest challenge for the governments as well as people of India. A Hindu mob, patronized by rightist Hindu organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) demolished the five century old mosque claiming that their god Ram borne there and the mosque was built on the structure of temple of Rama. They wanted to correct the mistake committed by the Muslim ruler Babar, a move campaigned by the so called Hindu nationalist party the BJP.
The demolition, the run up to the demolition have sparked religious tensions and violence erupted that killed above 2000 people. The run up to the demolition had made the BJP popular among Hindu voters and brought it to the power for a single term, after which it never came back to power.
There were many parties for and against the claims on the site ownership, one of them being the god ‘Rama’ himself. According to the Indian law, a deity is a legal person and can own property.
The Supreme Court prevented the lower court from delivering the judgment on Friday as originally slated and deferred the judgment for a week according to the local news, but Reuters reported the deferral is for indefinite. The top court will now hear an appeal for a stay on the verdict on Sept. 28, filed by a person who said the matter could be settled out of court.
It appears both of the parties are disappointed with the stay order. Mr. Ram Jethmalani, a senior lawyer at the Supreme Court termed the verdict as meaningless.
Reuters opines: The verdict could prove a major political quandary for the government led by the Congress Party, a left-of-centre party with secular roots. A verdict in favour of the Hindus would force the government to uphold the verdict, making it unpopular with Muslims, a key vote bloc. A ruling for the Muslims would mean the government would have to push Hindu groups out of the site, a political minefield.