'They have a list of 3,000 mosques which they claim were temples'

How can two deities occupy one place? The court says the place under the central dome is the birthplace of Lord Ram (swayambhoo deity) - as many have believed since the last few centuries - and, it also gives the benefit of limitation to the other deity as well
Sadiq Naqvi Delhi 

It is clear that the battle for the disputed land at Ayodhya will be fought in the apex court. Says Khalid Ahmad Khan, nominee of Maulana Mehfooz-ur-Rehman, one of the petitioners: "The judgement is based not on the law of the land but on faith and imagination, so it is difficult to accept it as a judicial verdict."

Before the October 16 working committee meeting of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), there were reports of division of opinion. A section, including Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind chief Mahmood Madani, Kamal Farooqui, and Kalbe Sadiq, Shia cleric and AIMPLB senior vice-president, were opposed to moving the Supreme Court. Sources reveal that one of them suggested the board should ask the government to build a mosque on the land given by the court. "These attempts were aimed at wasting time as the appeal has to be filed within a stipulated timeframe," said an AIMPLB member. 

AR Qureshi, board official, said the decision to move the apex court was unanimous. Many members are disappointed with the judgement.  "The idols were mysteriously placed inside the mosque in 1949. This means that the faith of the Hindus before 1949 was only regarding the property outside the demolished structure - the Ram Chabutra and the Sita ki Rasoi," said SQR Ilyas, convenor, Babri Masjid Action Committee. He added, the placing of idols was challenged by the government and was declared a criminal act. 

"How can two deities occupy one place? The court says the place under the central dome is the birthplace of Lord Ram (swayambhoo deity) - as many have believed since the last few centuries - and, it also gives the benefit of limitation to the other deity as well, that is, the idols which the court admits were placed on the intervening night of December 22-23, 1949," says Zafaryab Jilani, counsel, Sunni Central Waqf Board.

An AIMPLB member said it is a political judgement tailor-made to give some share to all the aggrieved parties. "I can't understand how the judges have evolved this joint possession theory," said Jilani. "It was a title suit which should have been decided in the favour of one of the petitioners. It would have been better had they not given us anything," says Khan. Jilani says the judges have reinterpreted and even rewritten history. "Evidence has been completely ignored. One of the judges even raised questions on the period when Babri Masjid was constructed."  Chances of reconciliation are grim. Qureshi says that the board will accept a formula which is within the Constitution, is not at loggerheads with the Shariah and keeps in mind the dignity of the Muslim community.  "It is not just a question of one mosque. They have a list of 3,000 mosques which they claim were temples," says Ilyas. Hardnews learnt that the appeal will be filed on behalf of several individuals who are petitioners besides the Sunni Central Waqf Board. "We can't trust them blindly. What if the Waqf Board backs out later or enters into some pact. This will act as a safety valve," says a AIMPLB member.  -SN

This story is from the print issue of Hardnews: NOVEMBER 2010

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