India, a country with second largest population in the world and has diversity in cultures and religions. But the majority space is captured by Hindus which reflects system the impact of Hindu ideology irrespective of the fact that countries officially declare itself as a secular state. With each day BJP’s hold on Indian society is getting tight. The country’s PM Narendra Modi sitting at the top as Hindutva ideologue has fueled the rapid spread of racist ideology. Such is the harbinger of suffering for the minorities, especially Muslims. Ayodhya verdict is one of the examples of prejudice and unjust treatment of Muslims by so called secular and world largest democracy.
The Ayodhya dispute is a political as well as religious debate in India that is centered around a piece of land in city of Ayodhya, Utter Pradesh. On the site Babari Masjid was built in the year 935 of the Islamic calendar (September 1528-September1529 CE) by Mir Baki who was a bey serving under Mughal emperor Babar. The dispute raised by the Hindus that it is the birthplace of Lord Ram thus, a sacred place for them. In 1858, first FIR was launched against group of Nihang Sikhs who had written Ram inside Babri Mosque. After that in 1934 again in colonial riots Hindus demolished a portion of the mosque which was rebuilt by the Britishers. From there started a legal battle between Hindus and Muslims over the disputed site.
On 6 December 1992, led by BJP leaders’ extremists Hindu mob attacked and demolished Babri mosque. Muslims assured by court lodged a case in the Allahabad high court. In July 2003, the Allahabad high court ordered excavation at the disputed land and the Archaeological Survey of India did the excavation and submitted its report on August 2003. In this report it was mentioned that there were artifacts of Hindu pilgrimage.
On 30 September 2010, the three-judge bench of Allahabad High Court gave its judgment and divided the land into three parts giving one each to Ram Lala, Nirmohi Akhada and Sunni Waqf Board.
All the parties were not happy with the decision and appealed in the Supreme court. On May 9, 2011 court stayed the 2010 judgement of the Lucknow Bench of the high court. In February 2019, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi formed a five-judge bench.
On 9 November 2019 SC announced the verdict and ordered to give disputed land to Hindus. According to court report by Archaeological Survey of India provided evidence that remains of the building that were found under the demolished mosque were not Islamic. Hindus could build a temple and trust run by government was given this task while court ordered to give 5 acres plot to Muslims somewhere else.
For 195 million Muslims in India this decision has increased a sense of deprivation among them. This decision clearly seems to be a majoritarian judgement to please the majority as this decision does not come up to the actual grounds of judgement. It was mentioned in the judgement that Muslims were not able to defend the fact that before 1857 Muslims were in exclusive possession of the inner structure. It was self-evident that entire period under Muslim rule, when the land was in their possession, it would be Muslims who would be praying in the mosque. What else was required by the court. The whole burden was laid down on Muslims and Hindus were not asked to show the evidence of procession before Babri masjid and their view was accepted based on their faith and belief.
Also, the placing of idols inside the mosque in 1949 and demolishing of mosque in 1992 were serious violations of the law than why the court handed over the land to violators of the law. The use of article 142 to provide justice to Muslims by handing over 5 acres of land to build a mosque is very odd. Muslims never asked for the piece of land rather they wanted to get justice for demolishing Babri mosque.
Archaeological Survey of India clearly mentioned that there were no evidence of building a mosque by demolishing a temple they just mentioned that remains were not Islamic but decision was made partially.
This decision has mixed reaction by Muslims some accepted it whereas some showed their concern over the biased decision. The important thing that needs to be kept in mind is that BJP was behind the demolishing of Babri mosque, now when the decision of disputed land was made BJP government was in power led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Ever since Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, India has seen deepening social and religious divisions. Narendra Modi has also inaugurated the construction of temple at the disputed site. This shows that the current government in India is trying hard to propagate Hindu nationalism in all over India and this verdict has boosted their confidence and paving way in achieving their agenda.
This verdict has shown to the world the true face of so-called secular state. It will not be wrong to say that the secular state of India has died after this verdict. The world should now come up and address the insecurities of minorities in India as worse things are happening to minorities in India after the verdict. But unfortunately, the world is silent over whatever has happened or happening with the minorities especially Muslims in India.
Author: Angbeen Pervaiz
About Author: Angbeen Pervaiz is student of International Relations at NUML Islamabad. Her areas of interest include South Asia and middle eastern politics.
Note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Pakistan Strategic Forum.