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Hindu Justice

October 2, 2010

If anyone had believed that the Indian judicial system was fair, which should befit its reputation as the ‘largest democracy’ in the world, and would give the Muslims of the country an impartial deal when it comes to a dispute with the Hindus, he should read the judgement of the Allahabad High Court on the Babri Masjid case pronounced on Thursday to get a rude awakening.

To recall the events of the past two decades, BJP leader L. K. Advani led a countrywide campaign (Ram Rath Yatra) to whip up anti-mosque, anti-Muslim sentiments that resulted in the provocative demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992. The Muslims reacted, but bore the main brunt of 2,000 lives lost in the riots that ensued.

Apparently, Hindu militants had made preparations for that eventuality. The Sunni Waqf Board filed a case in Allahabad High Court against the demolition. It is worth recalling that the 16th century mosque, built by Emperor Babar, at Ayodhya came to limelight when in 1949, two years after partition, Hindu extremists placed idols of the deity Rama at the foot of its main minaret and revived the claim, long squashed by competent authorities, that the mosque had been built at the site of the birthplace of the mythical deity Rama. It was in 1886 that a Hindu Commissioner had adjudicated that the Muslims had the historical right to the place.

The verdict of last Thursday – assigning two-thirds of the mosque area to two Hindu groups and the remaining one-third to Muslims – does not end the dispute; in fact, it opens up the wounds again and holds the prospects of further tussle that almost guarantees a bloody scenario, with no end in sight. It would deepen the animosity between the two sections of the population, the appeals for acceptance of the court decision by the country’s leadership notwithstanding.

It is a highly partial judgement that plainly bows to the demand of Hindu militant groups. It recognises that the site was Rama’s birthplace and for long had been a place of worship of the Hindus. Thus, the idols placed there in 1949 would not be removed, fuelling the demand that Rama Temple be built without delay.

The court failed to establish when the mosque had been built despite historical evidence, though concluded that its construction violated Islamic principles and, therefore, it could not claim the status of a mosque. It also ruled that it had been built after the demolition of a Hindu building.

The representatives of both religions intend approaching the Supreme Court to appeal against the judgement, and the tension continues, thanks to the perversion of justice at the hands of the Allahabad High Court.

The Nation, Pakistan

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