By Dr. Aslam Abdullah
On the day, when Kartarpur opened its arms to welcome people from all over the world to worship in the newly rebuilt birthplace of the founder of Sikh religion, the land where once stood the Babri Masjid in the north Indian city of Ajodhya for almost five hundred years was shut for Muslims forever.
One of the oldest disputes over the ownership of land finally came to an end when the Supreme Court in a unanimous decision decided to rescind the Muslim right over the land and handed it over to Hindus to reconstruct the Temple under the supervision of the Ramjanambhomi Trust. It is an irony that while Pakistan announced the decision to renovate 400 Hindu Temples in Pakistan, India’s highest court decided to take away the Babri Masjid from Muslims.
The Supreme Court explained that its decision is based on the basis of law, and not on the basis of belief and traditions. Yet, the decision exposes the biases and the reliance on traditions and beliefs. This is how the Court’s biases become clear.
Ram Lalla was the only part whose right to the land was acknowledged and accepted. It is part of the belief system and traditional accounts. It is not a historical fact as there are scores of places that claim to be the birthplace of Ram.
Sunni Waqf Board that has managed the mosque for centuries was not considered a legitimate body to contest the land ownership, yet the Court awarded five acres of land to the board to reconstruct a new Masjid elsewhere.
Nirmohi Akhara was not considered a party to the land dispute, yet the newly formed Trust was asked to include its members on the board.
The Court acknowledged that no temple was demolished, but the Babri Masjid was not built on vacant land.
The Court relied on the Archaeological Survey of India’s recommendation that said that the mosque was built on the structure that did not look like an Islamic structure, yet did not prove beyond doubt that the structure mentioned above was part of the Hindu Temple.
The Court failed to establish that there stood a Temple dedicated to Ram, yet decided to accept the traditional belief that a Temple existed on the land where the Babri Masjid was built.
The Court described the demolition of the Masjid in the 1990s unlawful, yet failed to restore the mosque to Muslims.
The Court claimed that its decision is based on law, but failed to present any legal document in support of the belief that the land was the birthplace of Ram.
The Court failed to explain the existence of the Masjid for almost 500 years as a place of worship.
The Court claimed that the mosque was not used as a place of worship until the beginning of the 19th century, yet restored the right of worship to a Hindu claimant in the Masjid land where there was no proof of Hindu worship.
The court decision is based on politics and is not unbiased. But it is a decision of the highest legal institution of India. Muslims have announced their intention to accept the claim. But the acceptance does not mean that injustice is accepted. History would always record the decision of the Court a political one rooted in majoritarianism.