Many have criticised the historic Allahabad High Court verdict on the Babri Masjid title suits from various angles. But no one has offered a better solution. Although the verdict is not the best, both communities have not discarded it as unacceptable. No major untoward incident took place after it was pronounced. The court delivered the verdict after a careful study of the case, keeping in mind India's heritage, mythological beliefs, and the nature of the sensitive issue. The move for an out-of-court settlement has not gained momentum. At this juncture, our political leaders would do well not to say or do anything that can create displeasure and incur the wrath of the minorities.
That there is no introspection within the Congress on its failure to prevent the demolition of the Babri Masjid is disturbing. While Kapil Sibal points to fresh legal questions created by the extraordinary High Court verdict (“One verdict, many questions,” Oct. 7), he carefully keeps away from his party's political answerability to the disastrous consequences that followed the demolition, including the loss of lives and the damage to communal harmony. What the verdict would have been had the mosque remained intact is a million-dollar question.
When the Allahabad High Court pronounced its verdict, the country in general and the parties to the dispute, in particular, broadly welcomed it and there was a sense of satisfaction. The calmness, however, was short-lived, thanks to the comments and reaction of political parties of different hues. The parties not involved in the dispute would do well to keep off and help to close the subject.
There is no doubt that the High Court verdict was based on faith rather than facts and evidence. Two of the three judges relied on the ASI's report prepared under the NDA regime, though it has been questioned by many eminent historians. For argument's sake, if we accept that the mosque was built on the ruins of a temple — and therefore the site should be restored for building a temple — the demolition of the mosque was also against the law. But the court said nothing about the main culprits of the act.
In all, credit must go to the Muslim community which has maintained calm, despite the unfair judgment.
It is a well settled judicial principle that cases should be decided on the basis of evidence. But the Allahabad High Court verdict is against the settled principle. The case was about determining the ownership of property. The verdict has created an unwanted and dangerous precedent of deciding cases on the basis of belief rather than material evidence.
I fully agree with Romila Thapar that the Allahabad High Court verdict has created “a precedent in the court of law that land can be claimed by declaring it to be the birthplace of a divine or semi-divine being worshipped by a group that defines itself as a community” (Oct. 2). This verdict could have left its footprints for the future generations to learn but many have taken advantage of it to gain mileage. Uma Bharti, for instance, has said that the judgment has proved that Ram was born in Ayodhya. A religion should be based on faith, not on court verdict.
People who were involved in the crime of demolishing the Babri Masjid have got away. Will they not be emboldened to commit similar crimes? All the land belongs to the almighty. Hence the maturity shown by the people of India is admirable. Let not one community claim to be the winner.
S. Shafia Sadiq,
A pleasant fallout of the Ayodhya issue was the ban on bulk sms across India. Many like me, I am sure, would have been spared of mostly stupid jokes, trivia, etc., mobile users generally get bombarded with which are, to say the least, irritating. They have started to pour in now that the ban has been lifted. I wish the ban had continued for a few more days.