They might have been fighting in the courts for ages to stake their respective claims over the much-debated Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya, but the rivals have heartily welcomed the view taken by the apex court on the issue.
Just as the Sunni Central Waqf Board was opposed to the September 30, 2010 verdict of Allahabad High Court, so were the Nirmohi Akhara, Hindu Mahasabha, and Ram Lalla 'Virajman'.
Both sides had moved the Supreme Court pleading against the High Court verdict, which ordered division of the disputed site into three parts: with two going to separate Hindu parties and one to the lone Muslim party.
"We were always against any kind of division of the disputed site and that was what even the Supreme Court found strange", was the common refrain of each of the three parties, who were otherwise vehemently opposed to each other.
No wonder they were all happy with the SC's observation, "it was strange on the part of High Court to have ordered division of the disputed site in the absence of any such prayer from any of the parties."
Likewise, the SC's order on maintaining a status quo was also hailed by each of the parties . "The apex court order will not affect the prevailing situation in and around the disputed site," said Sunni Central Waqf Board counsel Zafaryab Jilani. This was also asserted by Nirmohi Akhara chief Mahant Bhaskar Das as well as by Ram Lalla 'Virajman' counsel Ravi Shankar Prasad.
What made the Hindu parties happy was the fact that they would continue to offer prayers in the makeshift temple at the disputed site. For the Muslim parties, it was very satisfying that the apex court had disallowed prayer in any other part of the area.
"It was quite heartening to find the honourable apex court expressing surprise over the High Court's decision to split the disputed land into three parts even though such a request was not made by any of the parties," Jilani said.
Ninety year-old Mohammad Hashim Ansari, who was the oldest Muslim litigant in the 125year old legal battle, was equally elated over the decision to admit the special appeal. A jubiliant Ansari told mediapersons in Ayodhya, "At long last, the case has reached the right forum. We are now hopeful of getting justice. So many years have gone by in the litigation before smaller courts and the High Court."
Bajrang Dal founder and prominent Bhartiya Janata Party leader Vinay Katiyar, who had always been on the forefront of the Ayodhya movement for at least two and a half decades, also expressed much satisfaction over the apex court's move.
"I am really glad that the SC has shown its disapproval of the High Court's decision to divide the birthplace of Lord Ram", he told this reporter.