Ayodhya verdict: The history of the Babri Masjid site
After a 60-year debate, the disputed land around the Babri mosque in Ayodhya, India, will be divided into three parts, following a decision by the high court of India.
In the 16th century, the Babri mosque was erected at the site, named for Babar, the first Mughal emperor of India. Babar, a Muslim, supposedly ordered the construction of the mosque.
Many Hindu worshipers believe the mosque was built at the site of the birthplace of the Hindu god Ram.
In the 20th century, there were a number of clashes between Hindu and Muslim worshipers at the site. In 1949, Hindus allegedly brought statues of their deities into the mosque in the middle of the night and in the following days, a huge number of Hindus tried to worship there. The High Court ruled to lock the mosque, closing it to both Muslims and Hindus.
In 1986, the locks were removed and Hindus began to worship there. They set up a temporary temple inside the mosque.
Amid a rising tide of anti-Muslim sentiment, in 1992 huge crowds gathered and demolished the mosque. A wave of violence swept over India as Muslims and Hindus rioted. Thousands were killed in one of the largest clashes between Muslims and Hindus since India's independence from Britain in 1947.
An investigation into the riots began in 1992. Eighteen years later, India has a verdict.
A three-judge panel ruled the land should be divided among three groups. Ram Lalla, a Hindu group that worships Ram and tends to the idol of the god at the center of the site, will control one third of the area, including the center. Its statue of Ram will be allowed to remain where it is.
The other two thirds of the land will go, respectively, to the Sunni Waqf Board, the Muslim group that petitioned for control of the site, and to Nirmohi Akhara, another Hindu group.
The Archaeological Survey of India said there was a Hindu temple at the site before the mosque was built. Two judges said the Hindu temple was demolished to build the mosque. One judge ruled that the temple was not destroyed.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the lawyer for the Sunni Waqf Board, Zafaryab Jilani, said it is not a loss for the Muslim community, but they would pursue an appeal of the ruling.
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