New Delhi: Veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani, the person credited with bringing the Ram temple movement to the political centre-stage, on Saturday said he stood vindicated after the Supreme Court verdict in the Ayodhya title suit and that it was time to "leave all contention and acrimony behind" and embrace communal concord and peace.
In a statement, the former Deputy Prime Minister said it was "gratifying" that the belief and sentiments of crores of countrymen have been respected.
"I join all my countrymen in wholeheartedly welcoming the historic judgement delivered by the five-judge bench of the Supreme Court today in the Ayodhya matter. 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 Ramjanmabhhomi in Ayodhya," he said.
Advani, once considered a hardline Hindutva face who undertook yatras while pushing the temple issue over two decades back, said the apex court'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.
He was grateful to have got an opportunity to make his "contribution" to the Ram Janmabhoomi movement.
"I have always stressed that Ram and the Ramayana occupy an esteemed place in India's cultural and civilizational 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," he said.
"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. Towards this end, I appeal to all sections of our diverse society to work together to strengthen India's national unity and integrity," Advani said.
He added, "In the course of the Ramjanmabhoomi movement, I had often stated that the true purpose of constructing a Ram Mandir at Ayodhya is to construct a magnificent Rashtra Mandir -- building India as a strong, prosperous, peaceful and harmonious nation with justice for all and exclusion of none. Let us rededicate ourselves to that noble mission today."
He also hailed the apex court's direction for allotting five acres of land for building a mosque in Ayodhya.