A special bench of the Allahabad High Court Monday concluded the hearing related to ownership of a disputed land in Ayodhya to which Hindus and Muslims have made rival claims for over a century. The decision is likely to be delivered in September.
While Hindus claim the land to be the site of the birthplace of their revered deity Lord Ram, Muslims have asserted their right over the same as the site of a 16th century mosque claimed to have been built by the first Mughal emperor Babur in the ancient town of Ayodhya, about 120 km from here.
The three-judge special bench comprising Justice S.U. Khan, Justice Sudhir Agarwal and Justice Dharam Veer Sharma, reserved the judgement, indicating that it will announce the verdict in the second week of September.
The contentious litigation has been going on before different courts for nearly 125 years.
The final arguments which started Monday morning, continued till about 7 p.m. As many as 54 witnesses appeared before the court on behalf of the Hindus while the Muslims presented 33 witnesses over the past two decades.
Interestingly, the first suit was filed before a local court in Faizabad as early as Jan 19, 1885 when the plaintiff, Raghubar Das, sought rights over the ‘Ram Chabootra’ – a raised platform in front of the Babri Mosque, which was demolished by right wing Hindu activists Dec 6, 1992.
A petition in this regard came up before the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court in 1955.
In July 1989, Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC) convenor Zafaryab Jilani opposed a plan for laying the foundation of a proposed Ram temple very close to the then existing mosque.
‘It gives us a lot of satisfaction that this old litigation has finally come to a conclusion. We have a very strong case and I am very hopeful that our claim over the disputed land would be upheld,’ Jilani told IANS late Monday.