Muslim Board Sees Plot in Attempt to Revive Mediation Process in Babri Case

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Supreme Court of India.

Abdul Bari Masoud | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI – The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed both the parties in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title dispute case to complete the arguments by October 18, 2019. The top court also made it clear that there was no bar on the parties to go for settlement of the dispute through mediation.

However, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board which is overseeing seven cases, cast doubts over the attempt to restart the mediation process.

Meanwhile, on the 26th day of hearing, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board and Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (A) counsel and senior advocate Rajiv Dhavan resumed his arguments. He argued that nobody was disputing sanctity of Lord Ram and nobody is disputing that Lord Ram was born somewhere in Ayodhya. But when will such sanctity be sufficient to convert the place into a juristic personality,” he asked.

He also questioned the stand of judges on the report presented by four noted historians to the then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao on Ayodhya issue. If Judges termed this independent report as an “opinion” then whatever said by the Hindus parties is also an opinion, he argued.

Even renowned historian Prof Suraj Bhan has formally given his testimony before the court while complying with all the legal formalities of the Evidence Act. The report was signed by three of the out of four historians, he further pointed out.

The report was written after minutely studying all aspects of the dispute and such a valuable and solid report cannot be rejected on the ground that one historian did not sign it ignoring the three historians who have signed on its covering letter, he told the bench.

Disputing the Hindu parties’ contention, he said there was no mention of Lord Ram’s birth at the place of Babri Masjid in the Hindu religious text, ‘Skanda Purana’. It does not even mention any particular place where Lord Ram was born.

Continuing his argument, Dhavan said in his travelogue, the Italian traveler, who was quoted by the Hindu party, did not write that Ram Janmasthan is the mosque. He only mentioned outer courtyard of the mosque.

Even the Allahabad High Court’s findings revealed that ‘Skanda Purana’, Valmiki Ramayana, Ramcharitmanas etc. only stated that Ram Janmasthan is located in Ayodhya. None of the texts were able to provide an exact place at Ayodhya where Lord Ram was born, he added to his arguments.

There must be some tangible manifestation like the Kailasa peak. There should be continuity of belief and it should also be shown that prayer was done there in certain manner, Dhavan observed.

Making a very thorny point, Dhavan said, “There are at least three spots in Ayodhya which are claimed to be the birthplace of Lord Ram.” He also read out statements of some persons to show the position of Shias in the case. As per the same, Hindus and Muslims co-existed peacefully in the place. The Sunni position is “show us where the place of birth is”. Shias have shown exuberant generosity in these proceedings.

He also rejected the claim of Hindu symbols found at the site saying there were no images of any god on Kasauti pillars. What was relied upon is a lotus as these pillars don’t have anything directly representing any god or idol. The argument advanced by the Hindu parties is that since Lotus is there on Kasauti pillars, the same is un-Quranic and un-Islamic. That is asking for a little too much. Dhavanand added that just because there is a cross near a temple in Kerala, the temple does not cease to be a temple.

During the hearing, the bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi set October 18 deadline for completion of all arguments in the protracted case. The bench also offered to hear the case on Saturdays as well. However, it also made it clear that the parties to the dispute are free to find an amicable solution through mediation, if they want, and place the settlement before it.

“Let us make a joint effort to complete it by October 18,” said CJI Ranjan Gogoi.

However, All India Muslim Personal Law Board raised the bar of suspicion on the renewed attempt to resolve the dispute through negotiation. Board’s Babri Masjid Committee Convenor Dr SQR Ilyas expressed suspicion over the attempt to revive the mediation process in the middle of the hearing which has been closed to completion.

Speaking to Caravan daily, he said it won’t serve any purpose in the backdrop of past efforts. He sees a plot in this attempt as according to him the counsels for the Babri Masjid arguing the case forcefully and strongly has shaken the faith of the Hindu parties. All the claims and arguments of the Hindu parties were demolished by senior advocate Rajiv Dhavan, a lawyer of eminence, he added.

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