Gauging the mood and maturity of citizens after one of the most
important judgments in independent India on the emotive Ayodhya
dispute, the country's media has given its verdict: People have
moved on, now leaders must.
"A new, resurgent India has emerged from the debris of the violent
1990s," said an editorial in The Times of India a day after the
court verdict, referring to the aftermath of the demolition of
Babri Masjid Dec 6, 1992.
"A new generation has come of age since then and it doesn't want
to be tied down by ancient hatreds. Simply put, a mandir is what
is believed by some Hindus to be Ram's birthplace is not an
existential issue for this country, especially its youth," it
Most papers also said people at large were fed up of politicians
and religious leaders pitting Ram against Rahim, while appealing
to community elders to ensure that the matter is put to rest at
the earliest, and not simmer.
A three-judge bench of the Allahabad High Court's Lucknow bench
had Thursday ruled by majority that the place where the Babri
mosque in Ayodhya stood, before it was razed by Hindu mobs in
1992, was indeed the birthplace of Ram.
It also ruled that the entire disputed land in Ayodhya, a
riverside town in Uttar Pradesh, should be divided among the Sunni
Waqf Board, Hindus and the Nirmohi Akhara, a Hindu sect that were
among those who fought the court battle.
The Indian Express said the people of the country were asking the
judicial institutions to address a matter that had become the most
divisive political issue of independent India and had hoped for an
outcome that will be peaceful and forward-looking.
"In this verdict, and in what appears for now to be a measured
response to it, we see that hope in action," said the paper,
adding the cases against those involved in demolishing the Babri
Masjid also needed to be pursued visibly and energetically."
The Hindustan Times said: "There are no losers in the Ayodhya
ruling. It is a milestone confirmation of our secular fabric." The
fact that the unhappy litigants have decided to move the apex
court, it added, suggests the matter has been contained within the
frames of law.
"In the end, what is of prime importance and deserving both relief
and applause is that the verdict, in no mean way, has been a
touchstone moment for Indian secularism and a definitive step away
from the pit of religious fundamentalism."
In its editorial, The Hindu said if the overall reaction of the
people and from all sections of the political spectrum has been
subdued, much of it has to do with the fact that the issue does
not find much traction any more, unlike the 1990s.
"The majority verdict of the Allahabad High Court on the Ram
Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute is a compromise, calculated to
hold the religious peace, rather than exercise of profound legal
reflection," the paper, nevertheless, said.
"For too long has the Ayodhya dispute remained an obsession with
large sections of the people. It is to be hoped that after this
major, even if not final, step in judicial process, it will cease
to occupy the political stage," it added.