India's Supreme Court ruled Saturday that a Hindu temple could be built on the site where a mosque was illegally razed by Hindus in 1992 in the town of Ayodhya, ending a decades-long dispute.
Many Hindus believe the site to be where the god Ram was born, and that a Hindu temple once stood on the spot before India's Muslim rulers built a mosque there in the 16th century. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a Hindu who in his initial 2014 campaign promised to build the temple, urged for calm Saturday, as did Muslim leaders, The Washington Post reports.
The Honourable Supreme Court has given its verdict on the Ayodhya issue. This verdict shouldn’t be seen as a win or loss for anybody.
Be it Ram Bhakti or Rahim Bhakti, it is imperative that we strengthen the spirit of Rashtra Bhakti.
May peace and harmony prevail!
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 9, 2019
So far, that's held, although Ayodhya reportedly remains alert, and a heavy security presence has taken over the streets to prevent any clashes. Some people were reportedly happy to have a ruling one way or the other in the hopes that it will mean the end of tensions. Still, lawyers for the Muslim parties rejected a five acre land grant as consolation, and they will ask the court to review its decision. It's reportedly unlikely to be overturned.
Ultimately, the decision is seen as another victory for Modi, under whom Hindu nationalist movements have strengthened, often at the expense of India's Muslim community. Read more at The Washington Post and Deutsche Welle.