इंडियन आवाज़     01 Dec 2023 04:23:36      انڈین آواز

Indian Christians react cautiously over verdict

NEW DELHI: India Church leaders breathed a sigh of relief over the much-awaited court verdict on a disputed religious site in northern India, although one senior layman said it was disappointing.

A three-judge bench of the Allahabad High Court ruled on Sept. 30 that the controversial land where a 500 year-old mosque stood before Hindu zealots demolished it in 1992 should be divided into three parts among Hindus and Muslims.

Two parts should go to two Hindu groups and the other portion to a Muslim foundation.

Father M.D. Thomas, national director of the Indian bishops’ Commission for Religious Harmony, welcomed the verdict as a “cautious” move to “avoid sensitive reactions in the country.”

However, he said the court should have asked the federal government to solve the issue by constructing some national monument on the disputed land.

Jesuit Father Cedric Prakash, who directs a human rights center in the western Indian state of Ahmedabad, hailed the verdict as historic.

He said people in the country have waited for more than 60 years to find a solution to the problem that has caused many riots. He wants everyone to respect the verdict and ensure peace in the country.

Brother Mani Mekkunnel, national secretary of the Conference of Religious India, welcomed the verdict as “a courageous step” by the court.

The judges “decided issues in view of solving the problem by partitioning the property,” said the spokesperson of India’s some 125,000 Catholic Religious.

Father Babu Joseph, spokesperson of the India’s Catholic bishops, expressed the hope that the verdict would lead to an amicable solution to the long-standing dispute.

However, John Dayal, secretary general of the ecumenical All India Christian Council, said the verdict was a disappointment. The jurists and law scholars have been left numb at the bench’s effort to play “village mediator” and divide the disputed land, he said and added that the judgment will not bring closure to the dispute.

Hindus, who consider Ayodhya as the birthplace of their Lord Ram, say Muslim ruler Babar demolished a temple there to build a mosque.UCAN

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