NEW DELHI: Chief justice of India J S Khehar's offer to mediate an amicable solution to the seven-decade-long Ramjanmabhooki-Babri Masjid dispute found a slightly different resonance in Lucknow than elsewhere in the country. While the main disputants to the title suit live in this part of the world, the state itself is fresh from a fractious election in which the BJP swept to a staggering victory. Reactions from both sides were conditioned by the present ambience in the state.
The dispute over the ownership of 9,600 sq ft of land has been in the courts since 1948. On September 30, 2010 the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court pronounced a verdict dividing the site where the Babri Masjid once stood into three parts; two parts were awarded to the Hindu claimants -- the
Nirmohi Akhara and Friend of Ram Lalla -- and one part to the Muslim side represented by the Sunni Central Waqf Board of UP. All the parties involved in the dispute then challenged the decision in the Supreme Court.
Reacting to chief justice Khehar's proposal, Mahant Ramdas of the Nirmohi Akhara suggested, "I feel that all the parties concerned should give mutual consent another chance. In fact, a panel should be set up under the chief justice of India and the final verdict should come from the court premises."
However, Mahant Satyendra Das, the main priest of Ram Lalla temple, reiterated the majority sentiment, saying it just would not be possible for Hindus to relinquish their claim to Ram Janmabhoomi. "Hindu uss sthan ko nahi chhod sakte (Hindus can't leave that spot)," he asserted.
Iqbal Ansari, son of the late Hashim Ansari, who along with six others became the main plaintiff in the Ayodhya title suit In 1961 in the court of the Faizabad civil judge, said he just doesn't trust the opposite party . "The VHP always puts hurdles in the path of a settlement," Ansari said.
The national president of the Rashtriya Ulema Council, Maulana Aamir Rashadi Madni told New Indian Express that the discussions would be welcome provided they are conducted on the basis of honesty and facts. ''If they want a temple to be made through goondaism, then we cannot help and they can go ahead. But yes, if they can talk on facts and come for a discussion with honesty, then there is no problem in discussion.''
Asked to comment on the proposal to construct a grand mosque across the Sarayu river, Madni said angrily: ''First, you forcibly take possession of my house in Delhi and then come up with a proposal of giving me another house in Bihar. Is that fair?''
Any discussion on the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid issue is never far from a disputation of history. Madni discounts the idea that emperor Babar built the Masjid over a temple. He says that in Islam, even if a Muslim does not give permission to construct a mosque on his land, then no one can force
him. ''Therefore, there is no question of Babar demolishing a temple and constructing a mosque.''
Rashadi says there is no evidence to suggest that Babar constructed the mosque by demolishing a temple. But there is ample evidence that the Masjid was brought down by kar sevaks and a makeshift temple erected at the site.
''The first case that was registered was regarding the chabutra at the site which the other side claimed to be Sita Rasoi. In the beginning, there was no dispute with regard to the land itself. In my opinion, the court should first ensure that the mosque which was demolished by kar sevaks on December 6, 1992 be constructed at the site. Then there can be a discussion on whether a masjid or mandir existed there. All those crores of Indians who were born post 1992 do not even know that a mosque used to exist there.''
Madni pointed out that the present juncture in the country is conditioned by the BJP sweep of UP. ''Earlier, it was Muslim rulers who had the power in their hands and ruled the country. Later, came the British era and now the power is with the RSS who think they can do whatever they want. Since they
(BJP) are in power now, they want to do things according to their own whims and fancies,'' he said.
Ruling out an out-of-court settlement of the dispute as suggested by the Supreme Court, All-India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi said the case was about the title to the land.
''Please remember that the Babri Masjid case is about the title which the Allahabad High Court wrongly
decided as a partnership case. Hence the appeal in apex court,'' he tweeted.
Owaisi, a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), said that just like the court would be hearing the triple talaq issue in the days to come, similarly, it can also take up day-to-day hearing of the issue as well.
Owaisi hoped that the Supreme Court would decide the other cases pending since the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992. "I hope Supreme Court decides the contempt petition pending since 1992," he tweeted. "Waiting to hear about whether conspiracy charges will be held against (BJP leaders L.K.)
Advani, (Murli Manohar) Joshi, Uma Bharati in Babri demolition case."