A judicial history was made by the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court by deciding a long pending disagreement over a piece of property in Ayodhya on the basis of an unproven and unconfirmed reference to the Hindus’ faith and belief. The satire is that by doing so, the court has involuntarily offered a shot in the arm for a political movement that quoted the very same belief and faith to validate its open insolence of the law and Indian constitution. In 1992, that defiance attained its highest point when a 500-year-old mosque standing at the doubtful location was demolished. The political and legal system within India remained quiet witness to that offense of intrude, expropriation and destruction. The country has compounded that offence 18 years later by legitimizing the faith and belief of the people who took the law in their hands.
The Allahabad High Court’s three learned judges might have rendered distinct judgment on the title suit within Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi case although justices Sudhir Agarwal, S.U. Khan and Dharma Veer Sharma all appear to concur on one main point that the Hindu plaintiffs in the case have a claim on the disputed location because the place under the central dome of the Babri Masjid where Ram Lalla’s idols were placed secretly in 1949 as per the Hindus’ faith and belief is actually the birthplace of Lord Ram.
For every Hindu who has a belief that the spot under the central dome of the Babri Masjid is the exact spot where Lord Ram was born, there is another who believes something different. It is odd that court of law should offer such weight on theological constructs and considerations other than facts and legal reasoning; this is when leaving a side the query of whomever the Hindus referred to by the court actually is and how their real faith and belief was measured and determined. In 16thC, Tulsidas wrote Ayodhya, his Ramcharitmanas but didn’t refer to the Lord Ram’s birthplace that has been identified by the court with such challenging accuracy 5 centuries that followed. The faith and belief being talked about currently by the court attained salience only following the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bharativa Janata Party started a political campaign in the 1980s to set free the janmasthan.
In India, collectives have faith in all kinds of things although faith cannot become the judge of what is right or wrong within the law. Nor can the writing of hypothetical historical wrongs become the background for administering justice currently. The Supreme Court wisely refused in 1993 to reply a Presidential Reference made to it by the government of Narasimba Rao looking for its judgment on whether a Hindu temple existed once at the Babri Masjid location. However, the high court saw fit to frame several questions that must have had absolutely no bearing on the title suit which was at hand.
Was the building constructed on the location of an alleged Hindu temple following demolition of the same? This is one of the questions that were framed by the court. It asked the Archeological Survey of India to conduct a dug at the site pursuant to this question. This was carried out in the year 2003, in the course of the time when the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government was in authority at the centre. Not astonishingly, it was concluded by the ASI that there was an enormous Hindu religious structure lying below, a finding that was disputed by numerous historians and archeologists.
The Indian territory, like other many countries with a settled civilization as old as ours, is full of buildings which were constructed following pre-existing structures were destroyed to pave way for them. Buddhist shrines pave way for Hindu temples. Temples have pave way for mosques. Mosques have pave way for temples. Hence, even if a temple was destroyed in 16thC to pave way for the Babri Masjid, what legal significance can that have in the 21stC? And where do we draw the line if such destruction is to serve as the background for settling property disagreements currently. The remnants of a Hindu temple, maybe even of the original Vishwanath mandir are seen on the walls of the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi. Certainly numerous Hindus had a belief that the mosque is constructed land that is particularly to them. The offense of the Babri case from the campaigning and destruction to possession might serve easily as a precedent for politicians seeking to come to authority on the backgrounds of intensifying religious tensions.
Neither the ASI nor any other specialist has scientific background for claiming the architects of the mosque were the ones who did destructions even assuming that the tainted ASI report is accurate in its assessment that a Hindu temple lay beneath the ruins of the Babri Masjid. And yet 2 of the 3 high court judges have concluded that the mosque was constructed after demolition of the temple.
From at least 19thC if not earlier, we are aware that both Muslims and Hindus worshipped in the 2.77 acre location, the latter within the Babri Masjid structure and the former at the Ram Chhabutra constructed in the compound of mosque. In 1949, this practice came to an end when politically motivated people broke into the mosque and placed Ram Lalla’s idols inside. Both communities were denied access after 1949 although Hindus have been permitted to offer darshan since 1986. The court ha taken a small step towards the restoration of the religious status quo stake which triumphed before politicians got into the act by suggesting a three way partition of the disputed site. However, its reasoning is faulty and even hazardous. The legal, social and political consequences of the judgment are probable to be extremely damaging if left unamended by the Supreme Court. On Thursday, religious leaders condemned the Babri Mosque case, decision by an Indian court saying that the real face of India has been disclosed by the verdict.
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Sahibzada Fazle Karim, who is a senior member of JUP (Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan), said that they condemn this verdict; they reject this as well since it will develop resentment on an international level. He said while talking to a private news channel that OIC (organization of International Conference) should take solemn steps. He said that it is a worldwide plot and added that such a decision wasn’t anticipated hence religious and sacred place are insecure in India. Allama Abbas Kumaili said that they condemn the verdict of the court since the decision is not justified and that the court in under Majorities’ (Hindu) influence.
On the other hand, Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman, chairman of Ruet-e-Hilal Committee said that it is a diplomatic decision. He added that Indian Muslims should maintain peace, not to take to violence but the way of protest should be peaceful. He said that India is a secular nation and it had to respect minorities’ rights. He also said that Muslims can’t worship where idols are placed. On the other hand, on Thursday, Hamid Saeed Kazmi, Minister for religious Affairs said that the Indian court had issued a political judgment over the issue of Babri Mosque and referred to it as complete favor of the Hindu community.
He told Pakistan television that Muslims within have been denied of their rights because of one-sided verdict on the mosque. Kazmi asserted that Baabri mosque was cited by the court as Ram’s birthplace and recommended a little piece of place for Muslims like s donation. He said that the verdict of distributing equally the mosque’s land between Muslims, Hindus and the state is very complicated and would create troubles for the faithful in offering prayers. He urged the Indian Muslims to file an appeal against the verdict in the Supreme Court, urging them to make more attempts for their rights.
The minister said that they have always raised voice in Pakistan against any unfairness with the minority communities but the state is not showing solidarity with the Muslims in India. People from all walks of life were therefore asked by Kazmi to raise their voice against unjust verdict. In the meantime, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Minister for Information and Broadcasting said that minorities have all full protection under constitution of Pakistan and the government was committed to ensure their security. The minister said in a brief telephone interview with a private television channel telecast on Thursday that the verdict of Indian court on the case of Babri Mosque would have no effects whatsoever on the minorities within Pakistan.
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Qamar said adding that the minorities have equal rights in Pakistan and are fully permitted to do their religious rituals at their worship places hence it was government’s duty to protect their places of worship. He asserted that the judiciary of India would keep hopefully the sensitive nature of issue in mind while deciding the Babri Mosque’s case.
Hence, since it is apparent that the issue of Babri mosque is contradicting and challenging, the Indian government in addition to judiciary system is supposed to ensure that all members and groups involved in this dispute get fair judgment. It should not come up with a verdict favoring one group or the other. This is because by doing so; it can result to war among the disputing groups. Thus I would like to urge the Indian government to revisit the decision and come up with a verdict that will eliminate contradicting issue and one that satisfy both groups.