Nov. 9 (UPI) -- India's Supreme Court ruled Saturday to allow Hindus to build a temple at a holy site both Muslims and Hindus claim and directed the government to give Muslims land elsewhere for a mosque.
The unanimous decision by five judges led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi disappointed some Muslims while Hindus rejoiced.
The dispute stemmed from Hindu mobs demolishing a 16th-century mosque called Babri Masjid in the northern India town of Ayodhya on Dec. 6, 1992, with thousands of mostly Muslim Indians killed in religious riots afterwards. Hindus believe warrior god Lord Ram was born at the site and claim the mosque was built on top of a temple.
The judges ruled that the site in Ayodhya belonged entirely to Lord Ram, allowing Hindus to build a temple there.
Still, the judges said the 1992 demolition violated the rule of law, and directed the government to allot five acres of land to Muslims elsewhere to build a mosque.
"It's a historic day for all Hindus across the world and I am really proud at how the Supreme Court handled the entire issue," Bharat Das, a Hindu priest at a temple in Ayodhya told Al Jazeera. "I even welcome the decision by the court to provide alternate land to Muslims. This verdict will strengthen the bond between the Hindus and the Muslims in the country."
Meanwhile, critics like writer Rana Ayyub spoke out online.
"The privileged who did not suffer through the anti-Muslim carnage post the Babri demolition in 1992 are talking about closure," Ayyub tweeted. "Closure for whom?"
The All India Muslim Law Board was disappointed and pledged to evaluate legal options like a review petition.
Some Muslims welcomed the verdict.
"Senior members of our community, who were also part of the negotiations, have already said that they respect and welcome the court judgment, so there is no reason why we should differ," resident Akram Khan said. "Our five generations have witnessed so much hostility because of this dispute and if this is how the court feels it should be addressed, we welcome it."