Union Minister Uma Bharti said today that Ayodhya is an important holy site for Hindus, not for Muslims, for whom that place is Mecca.
Uma Bharti was reacting to questions on the Ayodhya dispute after the Supreme Court ruling in a sidebar case.
A majority decision of the top court today meant that the Ayodhya temple-mosque dispute case will be heard from October 29. For the ruling BJP, which has promised supporters a temple at the disputed site, it could mean a big break before the 2019 national elections and perhaps even before that, during state polls.
"This isn't a matter of religious dispute as Ayodhya is an important religious place for Hindus because it is the Ram Janmabhoomi (the birthplace of Lord Ram) but for Muslims, it isn't a religious place. For them it is Mecca," said the 59-year-old minister, who has always been a vocal champion of a Ram temple at Ayodhya.
Uma Bharti was among the BJP leaders who were accused of making incendiary speeches in the hours before thousands of "kar sevaks" or Hindu right-wing volunteers tore down the 16th century Babri mosque, believing it was built on the ruins of an ancient temple marking the birthplace of Lord Ram. In the aftermath of the mosque-razing, there were nationwide riots.
"The matter was created and it finally got transformed into a land dispute," said Uma Bharti.