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Muslims call for larger debate

Casting their initial caginess aside, Muslim organisations have roundly criticised the Ayodhya verdict, raising fears of fresh alienation of the minority community.

delhi Updated: Oct 03, 2010 09:27 IST
Zia Haq

Casting their initial caginess aside, Muslim organisations have roundly criticised the Ayodhya verdict, raising fears of fresh alienation of the minority community.

Thursday’s ruling over the disputed Ayodhya site is being widely viewed by the community as one largely based on faith rather than secular, civil laws.

The All-India Muslim Personal Law Board has called for a “larger national debate” on the nature of the judgment.

“It wasn’t a legal judgment. Willy-nilly, the verdict appears to have legitimised the Babri demolition. Muslims’ faith in the judiciary is shaken,” Arshi Khan, a political science teacher at Aligarh Muslim University, said.

Moreover, the community believes the court framed issues that it was not called to settle. The Sunni Central Wakf Board, whose claims were rejected in the verdict, will replace its legal team, sources said.

The 2-1 majority verdict by the Allahabad High Court has declared the place inside the disputed area where idols were installed in 1949 as the birthplace of Hindu god Ram.

“The judgment is extra-legal. It essentially highlights the argument of faith,” former diplomat and lawyer Syed Shahabuddin, of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, said.

Some of the community leaders in Lucknow and Delhi are talking of seeking the Centre’s help to overturn the judgment. “It is the duty of the central government to approach the Supreme Court to annul a verdict that overlooked constitutional tenets,” National Integration Council member Navaid Hameed said.

The Centre is unlikely to heed such a call, sources said, but ignoring such demands could have political fallouts, especially in election-bound Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

According to All India Milli Council chief Dr Manzoor Alam, Muslims were “amazed” at the verdict’s “reliance more on faith than on the facts”.

“We will call for a larger debate. The Centre for the Study of Developing Societies and other organisations are looking to debate the verdict from an academic point of view,” convenor of the Muslim law board’s Babri Masjid Committee S.Q.R. Illyas said.

The verdict has already sparked a debate among individuals who do not have a stake in the dispute.

“The excavations of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and its readings have been fully accepted even though these have been strongly disputed by other archaeologists and historians. Since this is a matter of professional expertise on which there was a sharp difference of opinion the categorical acceptance of the one point of view, and that too in a simplistic manner, does little to build confidence in the verdict,” historian Romila Thapar wrote in a signed article in The Hindu.

BJP slams Chidambaram

New Delhi: The BJP on Saturday slammed Home Minister P. Chidambaram for his remarks that the Ayodhya title suit judgment did not justify the demolition of the Babri Masjid, saying the matter was before a court and he should not jump to conclusions. "He (Chidambaram) should not judge as to what happened in 1992. The matter is before a court and he should not jump to conclusions. Let the court decide," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said here. “These comments are provocative without any reason,” he added. pti

Gandhiji’s blessing

Porbandar: On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday termed the Ayodhya verdict a blessing from the Father of the Nation and said it was a good sign to realise Gandhiji’s ideology of “Ram Rajya”. Modi, who offered prayers at Kirti Mandir, the birthplace of Gandhiji, wrote in the visitors’ book that the ruling was like a blessing from Mahatma Gandhi. “Gandhiji’s thoughts are still a source of inspiration,” he wrote. pti

Forces leave Lucknow

Lucknow: With the Centre silent on Mayawati’s demand to extend the stay of paramilitary forces by two months, the personnel deployed in view of the Ayodhya verdict have started to leave. “A letter for extending the stay of the paramilitary forces in Uttar Pradesh by two more months was sent to the Centre yesterday but as there was no response, the forces have started moving out,” a senior police said. However, the official said there would be no let-up in the security arrangements after the paramilitary forces go back. pti