NEW DELHI: The Muslim party in the Ram Janmabhoomi dispute case opposed the Centre’s plea of seeking excess land around the 2.77 acre disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land. Zafaryab Jilani of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) reacted sharply to the government’s move and called it ‘subversion’ of justice.
Jilani, who is also the convener of the Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC), said the move is the Narendra Modi government’s attempt to make the Ram Mandir through the back door. He said, “The government wants to transfer the land to Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas. This application is a backdoor plan to start constructing Ram temple near the Masjid. We will strongly oppose this if SC decides to hear the government’s plea.
It is a government of a secular nation and the government cannot favour one religion.”
Jilani added that no activity on the land should be allowed until the issue is resolved.
“It seems that the government has taken this decision under pressure from certain quarters and in wake of the ‘Dharm sabha’ that is going to happen on 31st,” Jilani said.
SC ruling says acquired land intrinsic to outcome
What is the Centre’s plea?
The NDA government’s plea says that only 0.313 acres, where the Babri Masjid stood and where the idol of Ram Lalla was installed in 1949, is disputed territory and not the 2.77 acres of land awarded by the Allahabad High Court in 1993. The Centre, in its application, also said that it would not have any objection if the remaining land was returned to “rightful owners” after determining the extent of land required for access to the disputed site. A total of 42 acres of the 67 acres is in possession of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas. However, the Supreme Court, in 2003 and 2011, had ordered a status quo on the entire 67 acres acquired by the Centre in 1993 following Babri Masjid demolition.
What is the status quo?
In 2002, Mohammed Aslam had filed a complaint in the SC against an attempt to perform puja on the land surrounding the disputed site. The SC barred any religious rituals on the land and ordered that the land must be retained by the Centre. The court had followed this up in 2003 by ordering a status quo on the acquisition of adjacent land. The court concluded that the disputed area and the adjacent land were intrinsic to each other. It had held that the future use of the acquired land would depend on the outcome of the then pending title dispute in the Allahabad High Court.
What’s the dispute about?
The dispute is about a 2.77-acre plot of land in Ayodhya which houses the Babri Masjid and Ram Janmabhoomi. This land is considered sacred among Hindus as it is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Ram while the Muslims argue that the land houses the Babri mosque, where they had offered prayers even before the dispute arose.
How a dispute turned into conflict?
In December 1949, statues of Ram and Sita were placed inside the mosque in a bid to convert it into a temple. The then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru asked then UP CM chief minister GB Pant to address the issue. In 1989, many leaders of the BJP, RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal ran campaigns to rebuild the Ram temple. The campaign escalated and in December 1992, the mosque was demolished.
What did the courts say?
The Allahabad HC divided the disputed land equally among Ram Lalla, Nirmohai Akhada and the Sunni Waqf Board. All three parties went to the SC, which ordered a status quo, and the case has been pending ever since.