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Like Bamiyan’s Buddha statues, Babri masjid destroyed by ‘Hindu Taliban’, litigant tells SC

During the hearing, the Shia board told the bench that it was willing to donate one-third of the disputed land in Ayodhya to a Hindu group for “peace, harmony, unity and integrity” in India.

india Updated: Jul 13, 2018 23:25 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Ayodhya dispute,Babri demolition,Babri masjid
Arrival of a fresh load of stones from Rajasthan at the disputed Ram Janmabhumi-Babri Masjid site earlier this week once again swung the spotlight onto the temple controversy.(File Photo)

Drawing a parallel between the destruction of Babri Masjid to the Bamiyan Buddha’s demolition in Afghanistan, one of the Muslim litigants in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case accused the Uttar Pradesh Government of not remaining neutral in the matter, as promised.

Petitioner IM Siddiqui’s lawyer, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan said if the Talibans had pulled down Buddha’s statue in Bamiyan then “Hindu Talibans” had demolished the mosque in Ayodhya. Dhavan advanced his arguments before a special bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra. The bench is hearing the decades-old title suit between the Muslim and Hindu groups, with both appealing against the Allahabad High Court judgement that apportioned 2.77 acres of land into three portions. One third of the land was earmarked to Hindus, one third to Muslims and one third to Ram Lalla.

No faith, he said, was allowed to destory a mosque as Constitution preserves democracy in the country. Dhavan then criticized the top court’s 1994 ruling that said mosque is not integral to Muslim religion. “No faith has the right to destroy a mosque .. . and then to argue that now it has been destroyed, you have no right to pray.” It is the argument of Muslim parties that the high court was influenced by the supreme court’s mosque ruling while arriving at its decision.

Dhavan recalled UP government’s assurance given to the top court. “The Government authorities were supposed to play a neutral role in the present proceedings, this is evident from their own pleadings which have also been recorded in judgment (on the mosque not being integral to muslim faith).The State has taken a non-neutral stance in the present,” Dhavan argued. He contended the state’s intervention was uncalled for. Central government law officer, Additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta, is appearing for the state.

“ASG is the officer of the Union of India which is the statutory receiver in the case,” Dhavan said, saying not only was it breach of faith of the court but also impermissible.

Mehta had opposed Dhavan’s demand for a reference. He had on the last hearing said such a demand was never raised all these years and to make the submissions at this stage was nothing but an attempt to delay and avoid a final decision of a long-pending dispute.

Senior advocate S.N. Singh appearing for Shia Board said the board wanted “to donate one third land granted to Muslims by the Allahabad High Court to Hindus for building Ram temple.” “For the unity, integrity, peace and harmony of this great country, Shia Waqf Board is in favour of donating Muslim share of land to Hindus for Ram temple,” he said. It further claimed that the rival Sunni Board is under the dominant control of “Sunni hardliners,” “fanatics” and “non-believers in peaceful co-existence, who have absolutely no stake in the present case.”

It pleaded that to bring quietus to the decades old dispute, the Masjid could be located in a Muslim dominated area at a reasonable distance from the most “revered place of birth of Maryada Purushottam Sri Ram,” saying it firmly believes that its efforts would definitely bring about an amicable settlement of the dispute and usher in a new era for both Muslims and Hindus to live in peace and harmony.

However, Dhavan countered the argugment. He said the Shia Board has no locus standi in the case as they were never a party to the title suits in the HC. The court will not continue with the hearings on July 20.

First Published: Jul 13, 2018 20:57 IST