SC’s Ram Mandir verdict in the eyes of the international media
The world media’s attention was fixated on the Supreme Court as a five-judge bench delivered the judgment. Here are some short extracts
The New York Times
The headline read: Indian Court Favors Hindus in Dispute Over Ayodhya Religious Site (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/08/world/asia/ayodhya-supreme-court-india.html)
“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.
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 Washington Post
The headline read: India’s Supreme Court clears way for a Hindu temple at country’s most disputed religious site (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/indias-supreme-court-clears-way-for-a-hindu-temple-at-countrys-most-disputed-religious-site/2019/11/09/ca0b54f8-0258-11ea-8341-cc3dce52e7de_story.html)
“The building of a temple to the Hindu god Ram is a long-held objective of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
Many Hindus worship the site as the spot where Ram was born and believe that a Hindu temple once stood there. In the 16th century, the Babri mosque was built at the same location. In 1992, Hindu extremists illegally destroyed the mosque, an act that set off deadly communal riots across the country.”
The headline read, ‘Ayodhya: India's top court gives Hindus site claimed by Muslims’ (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/09/ayodhya-verdict-hindus-win-possession-of-site-disputed-by-muslims)
“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.
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 headline read: ‘En Inde, la justice autorise la construction d’un temple hindou sur un site disputé avec les musulmans’ which translates to ‘In India, justice allows the construction of a Hindu temple on a site disputed with Muslims’
It said, “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.
Translation: “As often in India, this affair mixes religion and politics. By the mid-1980s, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the party of Narendra Modi, seized it to make it a symbol of Indian identity and an ideal electoral weapon to galvanise Hindus. The reconstruction of the Ram Temple is part of the BJP's promise to erase the traces of the Mughals in Indian history, to impose Hindu supremacy and to marginalise the Muslims).”
South China Morning Post
The headline read: Muslims slam ruling as India’s top court grants bitterly-disputed holy site to Hindus (https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/south-asia/article/3037035/muslims-slam-ruling-indias-top-court-grants-bitterly-disputed)
“India’s Supreme Court on Saturday handed Hindus complete ownership of a disputed plot of land, ruling in favour of a temple on the religious ground and ordered that alternative land be given to Muslims to build a mosque.
The dispute over land ownership has been one of the country’s most contentious issues.
The 16th-century Babri Masjid mosque in the northern Indian town of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh state was destroyed by Hindu hardliners in December 1992, sparking a massive wave of Hindu-Muslim violence that left 2,000 people dead.”
Sydney Morning Herald
Top court hands bitterly disputed site to Hindus (https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/top-court-hands-bitterly-disputed-site-to-hindus-20191109-p5391t.html)
“The verdict will test secular India's ability to deal with the sensitive case at a time when Hindu hardliners are feeling increasingly empowered. The promise to build a grand temple at the Ayodhya site was a key part of Modi's Hindu nationalist agenda that risks fuelling social divisions in the country, which has a history of religious riots.”