Writer-activist Arundhati Roy on Saturday described the Allahabad High Court's judgment on the Ayodhya title suits as a “political statement” rather than a verdict based on evidence and sound legal principles.
The court seemed to have been influenced by an anxiety to maintain the public peace over the vexed issue, she said.
Addressing a State-level convention of the People's Union for Civil Liberties here, Ms. Roy said the High Court turning Ram Lalla — whose idol was installed under the Babri Masjid's central dome in 1949 — into a human being by giving him a portion of the disputed land was “most baffling” and indicated the extent to which the “illogical reasoning” was stretched.
Questioning the rationale behind the judgment delivered after 60 years of litigation, she said the threat of communal violence should be seen in the context of its political benefit before elections.
“Was it really the worry for the public peace that led to this kind of verdict?” she said.
Ms. Roy felt it was “hypocrisy” to treat the people who demolished the Babri Masjid with the same standards applied to the other set of litigants in the title suits.
“This is the real threat to equality before law, to which we shouldn't remain silent.”
She reminded the audience, comprising mostly civil rights activists, of the Supreme Court's judgment in the Parliament attack case acquitting three of the four accused and awarding the death sentence to Mohammed Afzal. The court admitted that there was no clinching evidence against Afzal but went on to convict him to satisfy the “collective conscience of the nation,” she pointed out.
“Should we keep quiet on an issue simply because the majority goes with it? It will not help and it is not nationalistic,” Ms. Roy said.
Human rights activist Binayak Sen and Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan addressed the convention, which was devoted to the theme ‘State's aggression on life, liberty and democratic rights.'