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Published On:17 September 2010
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

BABRI MASJID DISPUTE: Let the Court decide

By M Naushad Ansari

The article ‘Will HC verdict on title suits decide Ayodhya dispute? (Times of India, Sept 13) does not make any rational sense. The author’s claim that there had been a dispute about the Babri Masjid structure, right from 1857 or before, is misleading, false and baseless. Indeed, the judicial record of that more than a hundred year old case bears testimony to the fact that the bone of contention was a chabootra said to be Ramjanambhoomi, which lies in the outer enclosure, 95 paces away from demolished Babri Masjid site. The claim of some Hindus for building a small Rama temple on that chabootra was rejected in 1885-86 by lower and higher courts comprising two Hindu and one Christian judges. Before 1949, in fact, not a single Hindu leader claimed that the Babri Masjid was the location of Rams's birth!All the records of the said judicial case are before the special bench of the Allahabad High Court.

In fact, the Archaeological Survey of India (A.S.I.) has concluded that a ‘temple to mark his (Ram's) birthplace was not built on the site of Babri Masjid.’ Significantly, A.S.I. found no trace of human habitation in Ayodhya earlier than the 6th Century BC, thus indirectly delinking modern Ayodhya with Shri Rama Chandraji of the Ramayana. Besides, there are over a dozen temples in Ayodhya that are claimed to be the true birthsite of Rama.

As for the ‘unused’ Masjid’ it was functional right upto the night of 22-23 December, 1949. If it remained unused since then till now, this was on account of the fact that first a dispute was created and then a status quo order was obtained and the Muslims respected the order. How does respect for the law erode or dilute Muslims’ legal rights?

In the past, the State has played a significant role in supporting communalism; yet now, the State must demonstrate its firm commitment to secularism by not bowing down to any communal forces while implementing verdict of the court. In refusing to abide by the court's verdict, the communalists are undermining the very foundations of India's secularism. In a democratic society we have all to accept the judicial verdict.

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Presented here is the article in The Times of India

Will Sept 24 Babri verdict settle dispute?

By Dhananjay Mahapatra

Built in 1528 by Mir Baqi and known till the 1940s as Masjid-i-Janmasthan, the Babri Masjid- Ramjanambhoomi disputed structure was demolished by a marauding mob on December 6, 1992. The sound of its loud crash, etched in the memory of many, could potentially reverberate again after the Allahabad high court decides the title suits filed by both Hindus and Muslims claiming ownership over the land on which the structure once stood.

Babri Masjid was also known for its acoustics. Graham Pickford, who was an architect for Lord William Bentick (1828-1833), had said, "A whisper from the Babri Masjid Mihrab could be heard at the other end, 100 feet away, and throughout the length and breadth of the central court." It had a miracle well, whose water was revered both by Hindus and Muslims for its cool sweetness and for its disease curing powers, all recorded in the District Gazetteer of Faizabad (DGF).

The Mutiny of 1857 probably changed it all. The DGF says, "Up to this time (1855), both Hindus and Muslims used to worship in the same building. But since the Mutiny (1857), an outer enclosure has been put up in front of the Masjid and the Hindus, forbidden access to the inner yard, make the offering on a platform (chabootra), which they have raised in the outer one."

The other turning point was the night of December 22-23, 1949. As per the FIR lodged by sub-inspector Ram Dube of Ayodhya police station, a group of 50-60 people stealthily placed the idols of Ram and Sita in the central dome of the Masjid at night. A furious Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru asked Uttar Pradesh chief minister G B Pant to take steps to immediately remove the idols. But district magistrate K K Nair, fearing retaliation from Hindus, pleaded inability to carry out the orders. The later sequence of events are vividly projected by the Supreme Court in its judgment in Ismail Faruqui vs Union of India [1994 SCC (6) 360]. In 1950, two suits were filed by some Hindus; in one of these suits, in January 1950, the trial court passed interim orders whereby the idols remained at the place where they were installed in December 1949. The main premises were locked, not allowing devotees inside.

The high court confirmed the interim order in 1955. If Nirmohi Akhara filed a suit claiming title over the disputed structure in 1959, the Sunni Central Wakf Board followed suit in 1961. In 1989, another title suit was filed. On February 1, 1986, a decision by the Rajiv Gandhi government and order by the district magistrate saw the locks opened and the place, hitherto permitted for entry to a priest once a year for an yearly puja, was thrown open to devotees.

What followed in quick succession before the 1992 demolition of the disputed structure were a series of breaches of status quo orders by the high court and solemn assurances by Uttar Pradesh government and its chief minister Kalyan Singh to protect the structure.

The central government, through an ordinance that was later converted into the "Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act, 1993", took over the entire area, including the spot where the disputed structure once stood. The entire land measured 67.703 acres in village Kot Ramchandra in Faizabad.

The Supreme Court upheld the acquisition, which probably helped in calming the volatile situation prevailing in Ayodhya but its splinters engulfed India through catastrophic riots in Mumbai and other places altering
the sensitive equation between the two communities. But it struck down Section 4(3) of the act.

The SC gave reasons allowing the adjudication of title suits. Very convincing ones given the situation then. But what it said in epilogue was apt — courts can decide a dispute but cannot solve a problem. The high court may give its verdict in favour of the Hindus or Muslims. But will there be a winner? Chances are that either way it may prove dangerous.

The Supreme Court had rightly said, "This is a matter suited essentially to resolution by negotiations which does not end in a winner and a loser while adjudication leads to that end. It is in the national interest that there is no loser at the end of the process adopted for resolution of the dispute so that the final outcome does not leave behind any rancour in anyone."

As the high court is scheduled to give its verdict on September 24, it is time for all of us and the government to think on these last words of the Supreme Court in the Faruqui judgment: "Unless a solution is found which leaves everyone happy, that cannot be the beginning for continued harmony between 'we the people of India'.

(Courtesy: The Times of India)

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on September 17, 2010. Filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on September 17, 2010. Filed under , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

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