In an address to the nation on Saturday a few hours after the Ayodhya verdict, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for national unity and lauded all sections of society for embracing the court’s decision. It was important, he said, for everyone to now work on nation-building and move forward collectively. There should be no place for “fear, bitterness and negativity", he added, in the New India to be built. Indeed. With the dispute finally settled, it’s time to move on.

Modi also spoke of the Kartarpur Corridor, which opened earlier in the day, recalling how the pulling down of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago had removed divisions between people and brought them together. This may have been a hint of the need for better ties with Pakistan. An overture to Islamabad would be good for peace in the subcontinent, no doubt. Reconciliatory optics of this nature do have signalling value. The impact of the Ayodhya verdict, however, is largely domestic. Here, much depends on whether a painful chapter on past wrongs has indeed been closed, finally, as avowals suggest. Modi has asked Indians to stand together and obey the rule of law. And obey we must

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