New Delhi (AsiaNews) - The Allahabad High Court today ruled, by majority, that the disputed area of the Babri Masjid Mosque, demolished December 6, 1992 by Hindu extremists, will be divided into three between Muslims and Hindus. The decision appears aimed at mitigating high tension in the country, but risks triggering major conflicts in the future.
The Hindus will be able to maintain the prefabricated small temple built on the main body of demolished mosque, where an idol of Ram was found long ago. Another group of Hindus and a Islamic group will manage two other parts of the mosque.
The long anticipated ruling was greet amid heightened tensions: over 200 thousand police officers were deployed to monitor possible targets of violence. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, as well as leaders of all major parties, had invited everyone to maintain calm.
Yashwant Sinha, leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, said that "no one has won, no one has lost," although he stressed the need to build a temple in honour of Rama. In reality, experts have always had strong doubts about the validity of the Hindus claim, since the existence of the demolished Babri Majid dates back to 1528. Babri was built by the Mughal. For only about 60 years Hindu extremist groups have claimed that the mosque was built on the ruins of an earlier Hindu temple. Thus, the Court has also commissioned extensive research of archaeologists on the site, but about five months of digging from March to August 2003 resulted in no new discoveries.
The Hindus claim was often judged to have only political and oppressive purposes towards the Muslim minority in the area. After the demolition of the mosque, a period of unrest exploded that left more than 2 thousand Muslims dead.
Very measured comments from Muslim leaders, though unsuccessful, to avoid possible tensions and unrest.
Experts commented that the court might seek a compromise, to avoid future tensions. But others argue that tensions are already high and the forced "cohabitation" could trigger more violence to come. (N.C.)