>Crucial Babri site verdict on Sept 24

>New Delhi/Lucknow: The Allahabad High Court will give its verdict on the ownership of the Babri site on September 24, in what will mark a big moment in the 60-yearold legal battle but may not lead to the closure of a dispute which altered the political landscape, strained communal ties and is still deemed to be combustible enough to reignite temperatures.
The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Wednesday informed the petitioners about the date of the judgment, triggering a sense of anticipation among the partisans and alarm among the authorities.

Though the issue is sure to land up in the Supreme Court, the fear is that the loser may take to street protests to whip up passions without waiting for the apex court’s verdict.
The bench of Justices SU Khan, Sudhir Agarwal and DV Sharma, which reserved its judgement on July 26, is to answer a number of vexed questions: particularly if a temple existed at the disputed site prior to 1528 when Babri Masjid was constructed; and, if the suit filed by
Sunni Waqf Board in 1961 was barred by limitation. It has also to adjudicate if the site is the birthplace of Lord Ram and if idols of Ram Lalla being worshipped in the makeshift temple were placed at the sanctum sanctorum on the intervening night of December 22-23, 1949, or they existed there since time immemorial. Another question to be answered is if Muslims had abandoned the mosque in 1934.
The ticklish issue of, as claimed by Hindu groups, whether a temple predated the Babri mosque at the site, proved a gamechanger in politics. The campaign launched by VHP leading to the demolition of the Babri mosque on December 6, 1992 effected a polarisation which squeezed Congress out of frame, while BJP and regional parties bolstered their position from the Hindus and Muslims, who embraced them in an anti-Congress mood.
While demolition put society on the boil, the judicial pendency of the title suit and the criminal cases for demolition have allowed ebbing of passions over the Ayodhya dispute. The fear is that a court verdict could could revive the tension.

THE KEY QUESTIONS
l Whether a temple existed at the disputed site prior to 1528 when Babri Masjid was constructed l Whether the suit filed by Sunni Waqf Board in 1961 is barred by limitation l Whether the site is Lord Ram’s birthplace l Whether the idols of Ram Lalla were placed at the sanctum sanctorum on the night of December 22-23, 1949, or they existed since time immemorial l Whether Muslims had abandoned the mosque in 1934

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