New Delhi: India’s Supreme Court on Saturday has awarded a disputed religious site to Hindus.
The ruling in the dispute between Hindu and Muslim groups paves the way for the construction of a Hindu temple on the site in the northern town of Ayodhya.
The five-judge bench, headed by the Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, reached a unanimous judgment to hand over the plot of just 2.77 acres (1.1 hectares), or about the size of a soccer field, to the Hindu group.
The court also directed that another plot of five acres (two hectares) in Ayodhya be provided to the Muslim group that contested the case.
Chairman Zafar Ahmad Farooqui of Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board, one of the main litigants in the case welcomed the Supreme Court verdict and said it has no plans to challenge it.
"We welcome the Supreme Court verdict in the case. The Board has no plans to challenge it," Farooqui told PTI.
Hindus believe the site is the birthplace of Lord Ram, a physical incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu, and say the site was holy for Hindus long before the Muslim Mughals, India’s most prominent Islamic rulers, built the Babri mosque there in 1528.
In 1992 a Hindu mob destroyed the 16th-century Babri Mosque on the site, triggering riots across the country.
Court battles over the ownership of the site followed.