Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ram Janmasthan is in Ayodhya: A split verdict for national unity

By John Cheeran
Three judge Allahabad bench of Lucknow High Court has given a split verdict for national unity. The Ramajanmabhumi-Babri Masjid disputed land is to be divided into three parts --- Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and Hindus – in what can be interpreted as an out-of-the-box judgment. Judges Sharma, Sudhir Agarwal and SU Khan delivered three separate judgments on the title dispute.
The bench rejected the claims of Sunni Waqf board and Nirmohi Akhara but in a reconciliatory gesture said that the land will be divided in three.
The most significant decision of the bench is that it affirms the place below the central dome of the disputed stricture is the birthplace of Ram. It also said prior to the construction of Babri Masjid in 1528, there was a temple structure at the site but it cannot be definitively said whether it was a Ram temple. The bench relied on the evidence presented by the Archeological Survey of India for this.
What emerges is that the bench has clearly gone beyond the brief given to it when one considers the fact that it pronounced that the place is Ramjanmasthan. It has apparently arrived at this decision considering the majority community’s faith and available evidence such as the ruins of a temple.
It also upheld the installation of Ram idols into the Babri Masjid on December 22, 23, 1949, arguing that there never was a Masjid to begin with at Ramjanmabhumi. The bench said as per the Islamic tenets a mosque will not have legitimacy if it is built over an existing place of worship by destroying it.
The court may have also taken into consideration the observation made by Justice JS Verma in 1994 that in Islam, Muslims can offers prayers at any place and therefore a mosque is not place that cannot be taken over by the state, claiming sanctity.
Of course, in a nutshell, the judgment of Allahabad Bench is a vindication of the demolition of the Babri Masjid and the stance taken by the Bharatiya Janata Party.
It remains to be seen whether Indian Muslims will fight the legal battle and ensure that the long festering wound does not get any salve at all.

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