BJP patriarch Lal Krishna Advani, a key architect of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, on Saturday welcomed the Supreme Court's historic judgment on the Ayodhya dispute, saying that he stood vindicated and felt deeply blessed.
"I join all my countrymen in wholeheartedly welcoming the historic judgement delivered by the five-member Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court today in the Ayodhya matter," LK Advani said in a statement.
Advani has played a key role in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, which brought the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to the national limelight in the 1990s. Coincidently, the court verdict, which has paved the way for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, came just a day after he celebrated his 92nd birthday.
"I stand vindicated, and feel deeply blessed, that the Supreme Court has given its unanimous verdict paving the way for the construction of a magnificent temple for Lord Ram at Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya," he added.
A 5-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi on Saturday cleared the way for the construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya, and directed the Centre to allot a 5-acre plot to the Sunni Waqf Board for building a mosque.
Lauding the apex court's decision to allot five acres of land for building of a mosque in Ayodhya, he said that today's judgement is the culmination of a long and contentious process that played itself out in various forums - both judicial and non-judicial - in the past many decades.
Advani, 92, said he has always stressed that Ram and Ramayana occupy an esteemed place in India's cultural and civilisation heritage and Ramjanmabhoomi holds a special and sacred place in the hearts of crores of our countrymen in India and abroad. Therefore, it is gratifying that their belief and sentiments have been respected, the senior BJP leader said.
Hailing the verdict as "moment of fulfilment", he said that God almighty had given me an opportunity to make my own humble contribution to the mass movement, aimed at the outcome which the Supreme Court's verdict today has made possible.
Now that the prolonged Mandir-Masjid dispute in Ayodhya has come to an end, the time has come to leave all contention and acrimony behind and embrace communal concord and peace, he said.
"Towards this end, I appeal to all sections of our diverse society to work together to strengthen India's national unity and integrity," he added.
Edited by Chitranjan Kumar with PTI inputs