Ayodhya case: ‘Hindus, Muslims prayed at disputed site’

Supreme Court Bench asks if common worship indicates that the ‘mosque’ was in part a ‘temple’

Updated - September 04, 2019 10:49 pm IST

Published - September 04, 2019 10:09 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Though a composite site of worship, the title was with the Muslims, Waqf Board counsel said in the SC. File photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

Though a composite site of worship, the title was with the Muslims, Waqf Board counsel said in the SC. File photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

The Constitution Bench hearing the Ayodhya appeals on Wednesday questioned the Muslim parties on whether allowing Hindus to worship in the outer courtyard of the disputed structure was an indication that the ‘mosque’ was in part a ‘temple’.

The Bench, led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, made the queries even as senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, for Sunni Waqf Board, argued that an idol of Lord Ram was surreptitiously moved inside the Babri Masjid in the intervening night of December 22-23 of 1949.

British records

Parrying the question from the Bench about the true nature of the disputed structure, Mr. Dhavan resorted to historical sketches on Faizabad by British officials like P. Carnegi and H.R. Nevill, both of whom had recorded that Babur built a mosque at the Janamsthan and that the mosque bore the name of Babur along with the two inscriptions.


Mr. Dhavan said Hindus and Muslims “alike used to worship in the mosque-temple”. The British built a railing to prevent disputes between the two communities.

“It is within this railing that the mosque exists and that is where Muslims pray. Whereas Hindus pray outside the fence where they have raised a platform,” Mr. Dhavan submitted. He said the Muslims were in possession of the ‘mosque’ both before and after the 1855 riots. He said both religions has coexisted in that space, but the title was with the Muslims.

The Hindu parties have argued in the court that the disputed land itself is a juristic person. “Whether they (Hindus) prayed in the inner or outer courtyard is not relevant. We say that whole area is Janambhoomi,” senior advocate K. Parasaran, for the Ayodhya deity, had earlier submitted.

In his submissions on Tuesday, Mr. Dhavan referred to records about aggression shown by the local populace towards worshippers coming to the mosque. He had termed the disputed land a “composite place of worship”, comparing it to religious sites in Jerusalem such as the Wailing Wall.

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