J. Venkatesan

New Delhi: The right to worship Ram Lalla at the disputed site at Ayodhya must be recognised by court. For, this place has been believed to be the birth place of Lord Ram by millions of Hindus for several centuries, senior counsel Ravi Shankar Prasad argued in the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court.

A Full Bench comprising Justices S.U. Khan, Sudhir Agarwal and D.V. Sharma is hearing final arguments in the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute. In the suits pending since 1989 Muslims sought a declaration that the area in dispute be declared a Babri mosque.

After the completion of arguments on behalf of the plaintiffs in March, senior Supreme Court lawyer Prasad, representing the interest of Hindu worshippers, who claim as of right worship of the deity of Ram Lalla at Ram Janmasthan at Ayodhya, commenced his arguments on May 3.

Concept of deity

Mr. Prasad argued that in Hindu ethos and Hindu customary law, duly sanctified for the last thousands of years, “the concept of deity is a very distinguishing feature unlike in other religions. This deity is the manifestation of the Supreme Being which is eternal, permanent and omnipresent. The temple is the home of the god and the idol is a manifestation of the Supreme Being.”

Quoting scriptures, he said: “The Hindus' concept of deity can also be shapeless and formless as they worship both Vayu and Agni. Even a log of wood or a piece of stone or the Sangam at Prayag, where — it has been believed by people for generations — a dip in the trinity of three rivers washes one of all sins, has also been exalted to the status of a deity. The Hindu concept is that a deity does not die nor is it subject to decay, and if an idol is stolen or is damaged or is defiled, a new idol installed [at the same place] acquires the antiquity of the old.”

Counsel said: “The Ram Janmasthan fully answers the description of a deity held in reverence by the Hindus for the last thousands of years.”