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The Ayodhya Case Ruling by India’s Supreme Court Ruling of 9 Nov 2019 - Select Reports in the International Media

9 November 2019

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1) The New York Times

Indian Court Favors Hindus in Dispute Over Ayodhya Religious Site

By Maria Abi-Habib and Sameer Yasir

Nov. 5, 2019

The ruling paves the way for Hindus to build a temple where the Babri Mosque once stood, but many worry that the decision will raise sectarian tensions.

Hindu pilgrims walking past a workshop where sections of a proposed to temple to the God Ram are being built.Rebecca Conway for The New York Times
NEW DELHI — India’s Supreme Court on Saturday ruled in favor of Hindus over a piece of land Muslims also claim, greenlighting the construction of a temple on the site where a mosque stood before it was demolished by a frenzied mob three decades ago.

The Supreme Court ruling handed Prime Minister Narendra Modi a major victory as he seeks to recast India as a Hindu nation and shift it from its secular foundation.

The mosque has been appropriated by political parties as election fodder, including Mr. Modi’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party, which swept elections in May. And its destruction spurred riots that have set the tone for the country’s sectarian tensions ever since.

In the lead-up to the decision, right-wing Hindus said the ruling would cement their status as leaders of India after centuries of rule first by the Muslim Moghul Empire and then by British colonialists. But Muslims fear that the decision will relegate them to second-class citizens and potentially empower Hindu extremists.

In the highly anticipated ruling, the five-judge panel placed the sliver of barren land — barely three acres — in a government-run trust.

The decision allows Hindus to construct a temple, which they have planned since the Babri Mosque was destroyed in 1992. Many Hindus believe that the disputed site was the birthplace of their revered god Ram, and an earlier temple was demolished during Moghul rule to build the mosque.

The court also ruled that Muslims would be given five acres to build a mosque at a prominent site in Ayodhya, in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

When the Babri Mosque was demolished by Hindu extremists, it set off riots across the country that killed around 2,000 people in some of the worst violence India had seen since its bloody partition in 1947. In place of the mosque, Hindus erected a tent resembling a temple that still stands and draws thousands of tourists every day.

The mosque was built in the 1500s during the era of Mughal rule, a period of history that many right-wing Hindus believe serves as a reminder of their humiliation under Muslim occupation. Although sites like the Taj Mahal — also built during Mughal rule — are iconic symbols of India, some right-wing Hindus see them as testaments of their past oppression.

Some Hindu nationalists want to erase that history and replace it with symbols that reinforce India as a Hindu nation. About 80 percent of India’s population is Hindu.

Hindus from around the world have donated hundreds of bricks carved with the inscription “Sri Ram” hoping that the court would rule in favor of building the temple. The bricks have sat in a pile next to the contested site, ready to be fixed and shaped into a temple after the ruling.

“Post the independence of our country, we have erased all the symbols of British imperialism,” said Ram Madhav, general secretary of the governing Bharatiya Janata Party, or B.J.P. “The names of our roads have been changed, the statues of Queen Elizabeth and all of them have been removed.”

India should undergo a similar exorcism of certain symbols of Moghul rule, including the Babri Mosque, Mr. Madhav said, calling the 300-year reign of the Mughal Muslim emperors “cruel.”

“It’s as simple as that,” he said. “This is not about religion. We are not against any religion. India is one of the most religiously diverse places in the world.”

The B.J.P. has risen to power on a wave of Hindu nationalism, and restoring a temple to Ram in Ayodhya has become a central issue of its platform.

The party’s leaders deny that they have stirred anti-Muslim fervor and insist that India is an inclusive nation that embraces it minorities. But B.J.P. officials have seldom condemned the lynchings of Muslims across the country, and some party members have been implicated in sectarian violence including the destruction of the mosque.

A rush of Hindu pilgrims visited Ayodhya over the weekend ahead of the court’s verdict. Sudarshan Jain and his family, pilgrims from Rajasthan, a state hundreds of miles away, visited an open-air workshop where craftsmen chiseled floral designs and figurines of Ram on pink sandstone slabs that will form the temple. The first floor of the would-be temple is ready to be fixed in place, the craftsmen said

“These are not stones, but feelings of millions of Hindus,” Mr. Jain said, “Now the dream is going to be a reality.”

Sitting in the courtyard of his home in Ayodhya, Haji Mahboob Ahmad, a litigant who supports rebuilding the mosque, said before the decision that if the court ruled in favor of a Hindu temple, Muslims would accept it.

But he feared that right-wing Hindu forces would be emboldened and more mosques would be destroyed, cementing the feeling of many Muslims that they are slowly becoming second-class citizens.

“Violence against Muslims will rise, and it will become institutionalized,” said Mr. Ahmad, 75, who had to flee the town for a month after the mosque was demolished nearly 30 years ago.

“Those people who say there is no fear, they are lying,” he added.

For decades, Mr. Ahmad said, living steps from the destroyed mosque felt like living in an open-air prison because of the security around the neighborhood.

“Now the issue should be solved forever and everyone should live in peace,” he said.

Ahead of the verdict, schools were shut and 4,000 security officers were deployed to the area. Rallies were banned, shops barred from selling kerosene and people prevented from collecting bricks or stones. Social media was alight with anticipation, and citizens and community leaders appealed for calm.

Mr. Modi, on Twitter, appealed for calm in the wake of the verdict.

“Whatever verdict is delivered by the Supreme Court will not be anyone’s victory or loss,” he wrote. “I appeal to my countrymen that everyone’s priority should be that the verdict strengthens the great tradition of peace, unity and good will of India.”

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Hindus’ favor on Ayodhya hands Mr. Modi a major victory just six months after his party swept elections and he was granted a second term as prime minister.

The ruling also comes just three months after Mr. Modi’s government achieved another key B.J.P. goal, when his government stripped the Muslim-majority state of Kashmir of its autonomy in August, increasing central government control over the territory, which Pakistan also claims.

Many in the B.J.P. say they believe that Muslims and other minorities in India, including Christians, have been given a special status that has set them apart from their Hindu peers, creating a nation that has a tiered structure they would like to flatten.

Hindu temples, for example, are controlled by the government, while Christians and Muslims control their own churches and mosques and can partly be governed by their own religious laws.

“If the Supreme Court hands them a victory, all stars will have aligned in the B.J.P.’s favor,” Milan Vaishnav, the director of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s South Asia program, said before the decision.

“There is short-term fear about communal tensions,” he said. “The soil is pretty fertile for conflict.”

Maria Abi-Habib reported from New Delhi, and Sameer Yasir from Ayodhya, India. Suhasini Raj and Hari Kumar contributed reporting from New Delhi.

2) The Washington Post, 9 November 2019

India’s Supreme Court clears way for a Hindu temple at country’s most disputed religious site

Joanna Slater

People wave a flag that reads “Glory to lord Rama” on Saturday as they celebrate the verdict outside the Supreme Court in New Delhi. (AP)

NEW DELHI — India’s Supreme Court ruled that a Hindu temple could be built at the site of a razed mosque in a historic verdict on a dispute that has roiled the country for decades.

The verdict awarded the land at the heart of the clash to a Hindu litigant over Muslim objections and represents a major victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The building of a temple to the Hindu god Ram in the town of Ayodhya is a long-cherished goal of Hindu nationalists and a key objective of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

Modi won reelection in a landslide in May and has moved swiftly to implement his agenda. To Modi and his party, India is fundamentally a Hindu nation, not the secular republic promoted by the country’s founders.

On Saturday, Modi hailed the ruling and called for calm. “This verdict shouldn’t be seen as a win or loss for anybody,” he wrote on Twitter. “The halls of justice have amicably concluded a matter going on for decades.”

In this country of more than 1.3 billion people, there is no issue quite like the controversy over Ayodhya, which has provoked violence and inflamed communal tensions for years.

For many Hindus, the disputed site is revered as the spot where Ram, a beloved god and avatar of Vishnu, was born. Some believe that a Hindu temple once stood there and was later torn down by India’s Muslim rulers.

In the 16th century, the Babri mosque was built at the same location. In 1992, Hindu extremists attacked and illegally destroyed the mosque. The razing of the structure set off deadly communal riots across the country in which about 2,000 people were killed.

Now Saturday’s unanimous verdict by the Supreme Court sets the stage for the construction of a grand Hindu temple at the site. The judges upheld the claim of one of the Hindu petitioners to the land at the center of the dispute — less than three acres in size — and ordered that it be held in a trust overseen by the government. At the same time, it granted five acres of land at an alternate location to Muslim litigants.

Ahead of Saturday’s verdict, authorities beefed up security precautions across the country in anticipation of possible unrest. In India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh, schools were shut through Monday. Restrictions on public gatherings were implemented in Delhi and Mumbai, India’s two largest cities, according to local news reports.

There were no reports of unrest or clashes as of Saturday evening. In Ayodhya, thousands of pilgrims left the town in a panic late Friday after they learned of the verdict was imminent, fearing potential violence. But on Saturday, the atmosphere was alert yet peaceful. There was a heavy security presence on the streets, with barricades on roads and certain restrictions on movement.

Muslim leaders called for calm on Saturday. Lawyers for the Muslim parties in the case said they would reject the grant of the five acres of land and ask the court to review its decision, but it is highly unlikely the ruling will be overturned.

The verdict “puts the government in the driver’s seat” when it comes to building a temple, said Nizam Pasha, a lawyer for the Muslim parties in the case. He said the judges had tried very hard to keep the messaging positive in their ruling, but had used acrobatics of reasoning to reach their conclusions.

In their ruling, the judges said they were “tasked with the resolution of a dispute whose origins are as old as the idea of India itself.” They stressed India’s commitment to secularism and affirmed that both Hindus and Muslims had used the site as a spot of worship.

Their final reckoning, however, awarded the title to the disputed land to a Hindu litigant representing the god Ram himself (in Indian jurisprudence, a god can be considered a legal entity).

Dhirendra Jha, the author of a book on the Ayodhya dispute, said that he expected the government to move quickly to begin the process of building the temple.

“I don’t think it will take much time. The government, the ruling party and their parent organization are all on the same page,” he said, referring to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or RSS, a powerful right-wing Hindu nationalist group that is the progenitor of the current ruling party.

On Saturday, Mohan Bhagwat, the RSS chief, praised the Supreme Court ruling. “We thank and congratulate the judges,” he told reporters. “We will forget everything that has happened in the past and will construct a grand temple of Lord Ram.”

In Ayodhya, where the dispute has shadowed the lives of residents for decades, there was a sense that the ruling would deliver some finality after years of controversy. Iqbal Ansari, 53, one of the Muslim petitioners in the case, said he welcomed the verdict. “This is the decision that I and every Muslim of Ayodhya was expecting, and I am not going to challenge it again,” he said.

Achal Kumar Gupta, 45, runs an restaurant close to the disputed site and said he applauded the ruling. Now the “uneasy calm” that had prevailed in the town would end, he said. “If the land would have been divided between the communities, then it would have resulted in simmering tensions between Hindus and Muslims.”

The site in Ayodhya has been the subject of a legal battle dating back to the 1950s. In 2010, an appeals court in Uttar Pradesh issued a verdict splitting the land three ways between two Hindu groups and one Muslim group — a ruling rejected by all parties.

Attempts to mediate the dispute failed, and in August, the Supreme Court began 40 days of hearings to reach a judgment.

After the verdict was announced Saturday, shouts of “Jai Shri Ram!” — victory to Lord Ram — and “We will build a temple there!” erupted outside the Supreme Court. Some blew conch shells, a traditional Hindu signal of triumph.

3) The Guardian

Supreme court says site where mosque was torn down in 1992 should become Hindu temple

Hannah Ellis-Petersen

9 Nov 2019

The Indian supreme court has ruled that India’s most hotly contested piece of religious land rightfully belongs to Hindus, and has granted permission for a temple to be built on the site in Ayodhya.

The five supreme court judges based their unanimous and historic judgment on Hindus’ claim that the site is the birthplace of the god Ram.

They ruled that a mosque that had stood on the site since the 16th century, and was the basis of the Muslim claim to Ayodhya, was “not built on vacant land” and that the Hindu belief could not be disputed.

The judges declared that a separate “prominent” five-acre piece of land would be allocated to the Muslim community to build a mosque near the contested site.

The ruling, just six months after his landslide election win, is another huge victory for India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, and his Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) government, which have made the restoration of the Ram temple at Ayodhya a focal point of their Hindu nationalist agenda. The supreme court judges said plans for the temple would be drawn up within the next three months.

“It is a historic judgment,” said Varun Kumar Sinha, a lawyer for Hindu Mahasabha, a rightwing party that advocated for the rebuilding of the Ram temple at Ayodhya. “With this judgment, the supreme court has given the message of unity in diversity.”

The head of the Hindu nationalist RSS organisation, Mohan Bhagwat, echoed Sinha’s comments and said his group welcomed the decision. “This case was going on for decades and it reached the right conclusion,” he said. “This should not be seen as a win or a loss.”

Zafaryab Jilani, the lawyer for the Muslim claimants, the Sunni Waqf Board, challenged the decision and said the board would meet later to decide whether to file an appeal. “We respect the supreme court, we respect the judgment, but we are not satisfied with this,” he said. “There are a lot of contradictions within the judgment. Five acres has no value.”

Conflict over Ayodhya has been raging between India’s Muslims and Hindus for more than 150 years. Muslims say it is a historical place of worship, but Hindus say the mosque, built by the Mughal emperor Babur, was on the site of an older temple honouring Ram’s birthplace.

The country was put on high security alert following the verdict for fear of religious violence and rioting. Thousands of police and paramilitary troops were dispatched to the state of Uttar Pradesh and around 500 people arrested in the days before. Protests and parties were also banned in Ayodhya.

A police officer checks identity papers at a security barricade in Ayodhya. Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
The supreme court judges said their ruling was conditional on the “maintenance of peace and order and tranquility”.

The city was quiet in the immediate aftermath of the verdict. All non-residents were obliged to leave the city on Friday night and no one was allowed to leave their house without their identity card. A few firecrackers were set off, but the heavy police presence kept celebrations and protests muted.

Rajatram Maurya, a tailor in the city who used to grow flowers on the temple land before it was claimed by the government, had mixed feelings to the ruling. “The verdict is good for all, but I lost my land in this and the compensation I got from the government was barely anything … But I am glad there is peace in Ayodhya.”

Modi said on Twitter that the judgement “highlights that any dispute can be amicably solved in the spirit of due process of law. It reaffirms the independence, transparency and farsightedness of our judiciary. It clearly illustrates everybody is equal before the law.”

BJP members led a march to Ayodhya in December 1992, during which hundreds of thousands of people descended onto the Babri mosque and reduced it to rubble with hammers and axes. More than 2,000 people were killed in the rioting and violence that ensued, and some BJP members are still facing trial for their role in the violence.

This destruction of the mosque has been cited as a pivotal moment in the failure of secularism and religious inclusivity in India, fracturing the country down religious lines that have been politically exploited ever since.

The sensitive decision over whether to rebuild a place of Muslim or Hindu worship on the site was dragged out over 27 years. A 2010 court ruling divided the land between Muslims and Hindus, but was rejected by both sides. The case was taken to the supreme court in August.

Since Modi and the BJP took power in 2014, the rebuilding of a Ram temple at Ayodhya has been at the forefront of their Hindutva agenda, which has pushed India away from its secular roots and toward a strongly Hindu identity.

This has led to growing hostility and violence toward the country’s Muslims, who number 200 million. Muslim history has been removed from school textbooks and there has been an increase in reports of vigilante Hindu mobs murdering Muslims suspected of killing cows, which are sacred in Hinduism.

In June, a Hindu mob tied a Muslim man to a lamp and lynched him to cries of “hail Lord Ram”. The Modi government’s actions in Kashmir in August, stripping the state of its long-held semi-autonomy, was also seen as directly targeting its majority-Muslim community.

4) The Economist

The supreme court hands India’s biggest communal flashpoint to Hindus

The government must compensate Muslims by giving them land to build a mosque

Nov 9th 2019 | NEW DELHI

IT IS a decision that has been decades in the making. When it came, it surprised no one. On November 9th India’s supreme court granted Hindus possession of a site in the city of Ayodhya that is claimed as the birthplace of Rama, an incarnation of the god Vishnu. A 16th century mosque had stood on the 2.77 acre site until a fanatical mob demolished it in 1992, sparking a decade of sporadic nationwide violence that left several thousand dead, mostly minority Muslims. The court’s judgment orders India’s government to create a trust that may build a Hindu temple on the site, and also to provide land nearby for the building of a replacement mosque.

Fears of renewed violence had prompted schools and offices to close across parts of northern India, amid security precautions that included massive police deployments, instructions to media to avoid incitement and a partial suspension of internet service. Politicians of all stripes, as well as spiritual leaders of both faiths, called for calm and acceptance of the court’s verdict. But simple exhaustion with the dispute, which has festered for nearly as long as India has been independent, may be the main reason for the generally muted public response.

It helped, too, that the five judges on the Supreme Court bench ruled unanimously. Aside from offering five acres of land in compensation, their ruling gave solace to Muslims by terming the 1992 demolition of the mosque, known as the Babri Masjid, “an egregious violation of the rule of law”. This suggests that energy may now be injected into the separate criminal trial of Hindu nationalist leaders held responsible for provoking the mosque attack. This has lingered in lower courts for decades.

Zafaryab Jilani, a lawyer for the Muslim plaintiffs, said they would respect the ruling, but were “not satisfied” and noted “several contradictions” in the judges’ logic. Some independent legal experts concur. “The court seems to set great store in a lack of documentary evidence that prayers were held in the mosque before 1857, yet finds no trouble in the lack of evidence that any Hindu services were held there, either,” says a lawyer who prefers to remain anonymous, due to the sensitivity of the case. Social-media commentary has been less forgiving. “Possession is nine-tenths of ownership, but demolition is the whole thing,” read one sarcastic tweet. “Realized today that ‘If you break it, you own it’ applies outside of retail as well!” read another.

Despite such doubts, the majority of Hindus are broadly relieved that the saga has finally come to an end. Shekhar Gupta, an experienced and canny commentator, described the ruling as “wonderfully nuanced” and predicted it would bring closure to the issue. The opposition Congress party welcomed the court’s judgment. It not only opens the way for construction of a temple, said Randeep Surjewala, a party spokesman, but also prevents the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its Hindu chauvinist allies from seeking to capitalise on the issue any more.

Perhaps, but for now prime minister Narendra Modi and his party are basking in satisfaction. The promise to build a giant temple at the purported site of Lord Rama’s birth has been a rallying cry for Hindu nationalists since the 1980s, and a fixture of the BJP’s election manifestos since 1996. Having won a second five-year term in May by a landslide, Mr Modi has fulfilled a string of promises to his Hindu nationalist base, including the splitting in two of Jammu & Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority state, and stripping it both of its special status under the constitution and of statehood.

But will this triumphant end to the BJP’s long crusade now allow the prime minister to focus on more pressing issues, such as a faltering economy? And will it cool Hindu fervour enough to soothe communal relations, which have grown increasingly strained under Mr Modi? Some Hindu hardliners are already pushing for more, claiming that other mosques, and even perhaps the Taj Mahal, the famous tomb of a Muslim emperor and his wife, are built atop ancient temples. But the likelihood of galvanising a large chunk of Hindu opinion again is probably limited. The campaign to demolish and replace the Babri Masjid began 70 years ago with the surreptitious planting of a Hindu idol in 1949. And the ensuing lifetime of strife is not a price that many Indians will be willing to pay again.

5) Le Monde, 9 novembre 2019

En Inde, la justice autorise la construction d’un temple hindou sur un site disputé avec les musulmans

L’édification du temple Ram, à Ayodhya, en lieu et place d’une mosquée, divise les deux communautés depuis des décennies et a généré des émeutes sanglantes.

Par Sophie Landrin

C’est sans doute l’une des décisions les plus importantes de son histoire. La Cour suprême indienne a tranché, samedi 9 novembre, un dossier explosif qui oppose hindous et musulmans depuis des décennies et qui a donné lieu à des affrontements intercommunautaires sanglants, plus de 3 000 morts. Sa décision constitue une immense victoire pour le gouvernement nationaliste de Narendra Modi et pour les hindous.

A l’unanimité, les cinq juges ont autorisé la construction d’un temple hindou à Ayodhya, dans l’Uttar Pradesh, en lieu et place de la mosquée Babri érigée au XVIe siècle par l’empereur Babur, premier dirigeant et fondateur de l’empire Moghol en Inde, qu’une horde d’hindous en furie avaient détruite en 1992. En forme de compensation, les juges ont demandé au gouvernement d’allouer aux musulmans un autre terrain « bien en vue » à Ayodhya pour construire une mosquée.

Les hindous considèrent le site d’Ayodhya comme le lieu de naissance du dieu Ram, un des sept avatars de Vishnou. Ils affirment que la mosquée Babri a été fondée sur les ruines du temple de Ram. Une légende pour les historiens.

Arme électorale

Comme souvent en Inde, cette affaire mêle religion et politique. Dès le milieu des années 1980, le Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), le mouvement de Narendra Modi, s’en est emparé pour en faire un symbole de l’identité indienne et une arme électorale idéale pour galvaniser les hindous. La reconstruction du temple de Ram fait partie des promesses du BJP, qui souhaite effacer les traces des Moghols de l’histoire de l’Inde, imposer la suprématie des hindous et marginaliser les musulmans.

6) Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Indisches Gericht spricht heiligen Ort Hindus zu

Aktualisiert am 09.11.2019

Seit 1992 beschäftigten sich indische Gerichte mit einem Streit um ein Areal, auf dem Hindu-Nationalisten eine Moschee zerstört hatten. Nun darf dort ein Hindu-Tempel errichtet werden, entscheiden die Obersten Richter.

Ein Ort, zwei Religionen, ein blutiger Streit: Der Konflikt zwischen Hindus und Muslimen um ein heiliges Areal im nordindischen Ayodhya hatte 1992 zu Ausschreitungen mit mehr als 2000 Toten geführt – erst jetzt hat das Oberste Gericht des Landes in dem Fall entschieden. Die Richter urteilten am Samstag, dass Hindus auf einem Areal, wo sie eine Moschee zerstört hatten, einen Tempel für sich errichten dürfen. Den Muslimen wurde ein anderes Stück Land in Ayodhya zugeteilt, wo sie eine neue Moschee bauen dürfen. Das neue Bauland ist etwa doppelt so groß.

Der Streit darum, wem der Ort gehört, spaltet Indien seit Jahrzehnten. 80 Prozent der 1,3 Milliarden Einwohner sind Hindus. Muslime machen etwa 14 Prozent aus.

Aus Angst vor Krawallen wurden die Sicherheitsvorkehrungen in der Region deutlich erhöht. Mehrere Tausend Sicherheitskräfte waren im Einsatz, darunter auch Spezialkräfte für Bombenentschärfungen, wie lokale Medien berichteten. Schulen und Universitäten in mehreren Bundesstaaten blieben geschlossen. Auch die Richter stünden unter Schutz.

Die Geschichte des 1,1 Hektar großen Ortes im Bundesstaat Uttar Pradesh ist religiös und politisch aufgeladen: Der Überlieferung nach stand dort, wo Hindu-Gott Rama das Licht der Welt erblickt haben soll, einst ein Tempel. Im 16. Jahrhundert setzten muslimische Eroberer die Babri-Moschee dorthin. Fanatische Hindus rissen diese dann 1992 nieder. Dies löste landesweite Ausschreitungen zwischen Hindus und Muslimen mit mehr als 2000 Toten aus, die meisten Opfer waren Muslime. Die Unruhen gelten als eines der meist polarisierenden Ereignisse Indiens seit der Unabhängigkeit 1947.

Die fünf Richter entschieden nun einstimmig und beriefen sich auf eine archäologische Untersuchung. „Wir respektieren das Urteil, aber wir sind nicht zufrieden“, sagte Anwalt Zafaryab Jilani, der die muslimische Seite vertritt. Man werde das Urteil genau prüfen. Ministerpräsident Narendra Modi hatte vor der Urteilsverkündung gesagt, die Entscheidung der Richter stelle für niemanden einen Sieg oder eine Niederlage dar. Der Tempelbau ist seit Langem ein Wahlversprechen von Modis hindu-nationalistischen Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

7) El Pais

La justicia india concede a los hindúes un lugar sagrado sobre el que se erigía una mezquita

El Supremo falla en favor de la comunidad religiosa mayoritaria en India y cierra así uno de los episodios más sangrientos de la historia reciente del país

Ángel Martínez

Bombay 9 NOV 2019 - 17:06 CET

Militantes hindúes celebran la decisión del Supremo, el sábado en Ahmedabad. SAM PANTHAKY AFP

El Tribunal Supremo de India ha ordenado este sábado la creación de una fundación para construir un templo en honor a la deidad hindú Ram sobre las ruinas de una mezquita en Ayodhya. El templo musulmán, de 460 años de edad, fue destruido por una turba de radicales hindúes en 1992. El esperado veredicto, adoptado de forma unánime, pone fin a un litigio que ha enfrentado a las comunidades hindú y musulmana de India desde hace más de dos décadas. La decisión de la corte incluye también la concesión de un terreno donde crear un lugar de rezo musulmán. La histórica decisión supone la victoria del nacionalismo hindú del Gobierno del primer ministro Narendra Modi casi 100 días después de que su Ejecutivo retirase por sorpresa el estatus autonómico especial de Cachemira, otra de las tradicionales demandas del hinduismo político.

En respuesta “a una disputa tan antigua como la propia idea de India”, el veredicto concluye que “la fe y creencias hindúes establecían el nacimiento de Ram en el lugar en el que se construyó la mezquita Babri”, edificada sobre restos “que no eran islámicos”; según las pruebas documentales y orales. Así, el Supremo daba la razón a los litigantes hindúes, a quienes se les concede la totalidad del terreno para que un patronato construya un templo dedicado a esta deidad, reencarnación humana del dios Vishnu. La corte máxima del país, por otra parte, insta a las autoridades regionales o nacionales a que concedan el doble de espacio en un terreno alternativo para la creación de una mezquita que reemplace a la derribada hace más de dos décadas.

Entre fuertes medidas de seguridad desplegadas en Uttar Pradesh, región donde encuentra Ayodhya, el veredicto del Supremo es uno de los más controvertidos de la historia de India, ya que se refiere al episodio reciente más sangriento entre las dos mayorías religiosas del país. En 1992, hindúes radicales demolieron la mezquita existente en Ayodhya desde el siglo XVI, violando un fallo del Supremo. Aquello dio lugar a una espiral de violencia que causó más de 2.000 muertos y otros tantos desplazados —la mayoría, musulmanes— y que recordó a las masacres sucedidas tras la partición del subcontinente en 1947, origen de India y Pakistán, vecinos y enemigos irreconciliables. Años después, en 2010, el Tribunal Superior de Allahabad dividía el terreno en tres partes, fallo anulado hoy por la sentencia del Supremo favorable a la mayoría hindú de India.

La decisión final sobre esta disputa ha sido recibida con festejos por parte de grupos hindúes congregados frente al Supremo, mientras que los representantes de la comunidad musulmana dicen respetar la decisión aunque no estén de acuerdo. En Ayodhya no se han registrado incidentes aunque varios centenares de personas fueron arrestadas ayer en previsión de posibles altercados. “Este veredicto no debería verse como la victoria o la derrota de nadie”, escribió en Twitter el primer ministro Modi poco después de conocerse la decisión del tribunal: “Que la paz y la armonía prevalezcan”.

Pese a la equidistancia del líder indio, el fallo se entiende como una victoria de su partido, el conservador y nacionalista hindú Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), que ha hecho campaña en favor de la construcción del templo a Ram desde hace años. Este no era el único compromiso ideológico-religioso del programa del partido que arrasó en los comicios nacionales de mayo. Hace tres meses, el partido frente al Ejecutivo central también cumplía una de sus promesas históricas —y base fundacional— al revocar unilateralmente la autonomía especial de la disputada Cachemira.

Única región india de mayoría musulmana y fronteriza con Pakistán, el Estado de Jammu y Cachemira tenía prebendas constitucionales ideadas para fomentar la inclusión de los musulmanes, el 14% de los 1.300 millones de habitantes, en una nación secular de mayoría hindú. Sin embargo, miembros del BJP insisten desde hace años en crear asentamientos hindúes en el valle de Cachemira.

“El país se mueve hacia su conversión en una nación hindú”, dijo al conocer la decisión judicial Asaduddin Owaisi; influyente político musulmán de la oposición. Además del veredicto en favor del templo hindú y la disolución de Cachemira, los críticos subrayan el alineamiento del Gobierno con el hinduismo político (Hindutva), contrario a la visión secular de India y al resto de grupos religiosos no hindúes. Desde la llegada al poder del actual Ejecutivo, en 2014, activistas de derechos humanos denuncian más agresiones contra la minoría musulmana a raíz de las políticas de protección de vacas impuestas en los estados del norte del país.

8) Other Links:

Ayodhya verdict: Indian top court gives holy site to Hindus