Saturday’s historic verdict on the Ayodhya land dispute by the five-judge Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court dominated the front-page coverage of almost all newspapers in India. While some chose to report the Supreme Court’s verdict factually, most decided to convey their interpretation through creative headlines.
In its verdict, the Supreme Court had decided to give the disputed land to Hindus for the construction of the Ram Temple, while donating a piece of land to Muslims for them to be able to construct a mosque at an ‘alternate’ site in Ayodhya. This despite the fact that the CJI Ranjan Gogoi-led Bench termed the destruction of the Babri Masjid on 6 December 1992 an illegal act. The discrepancies in the Supreme Court’s order did no go unnoticed by the newspapers.
Here’s how top English newspapers chose to cover the verdict on their front pages;
The front-page headline by Mumbai Mirror read, “Lord gets his land; Muslims, a fragile peace.”
The Telegraph, Kolkata
The front-page headline in Kolkata-based newspaper, known for its creativity, read, “In the name of Ram, the site is now HINDU STHAN.” The Hindutva brigade has often referred to India as Hindu Sthan to claim that the country was the land of Hindus.
The Indian Express
The Indian Express chose ‘Temple gets site, mosque a plot’ as its top headline on the front page. The paper also highlighted that the Sunni board had decided not to go for a review of the verdict even though they were indifferent to the offer of 5-acre land.
The Asian Age
Asian Age’s headline read factually, “Ram Lalla comes home, a new masjid to rise.” It went on to add, “SC calls Babri’s demolition a crime, but says Hindus’ claim on land is stronger.”
“Temple set in stone,” read the front-page headline of the Hindustan Times newspaper.