New Delhi: On the eve of Prime Minister Narendra Modi laying the foundation stone for the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) Tuesday called the Supreme Court judgment of November 2019 that awarded 2.77 acres of the disputed site in Ayodhya to the Hindu side, as “extortive (ghasibana faisla)” and the act of taking possession of the land an “illegal expropriation”.
On Twitter, the board referred to Turkey’s Hagia Sophia to make the point that a mosque remains one “until eternity”.
In a statement, AIMPLB general secretary Maulana Wali Rahmani said: “As the Supreme Court is the highest palladium of justice in our country, we have no option but to accept the judgment. However, we will definitely say that it was an unjust and unfair judgment.”
“The AIMPLB as the representative and the public platform of Indian Muslims and various other organisations spared no effort in their fight for justice for Babri Masjid,” he added. “It is important to state that this entire movement by the Hindutva elements was based on oppression, coercion, intimidation, embezzlement, usurpation and calumny. It was a purely political movement that had no relation to religion or religious teachings.”
The AIMPLB was not among the petitioners in the Ram Janmabhoomi case but did organise the Muslim side’s legal efforts.
The Supreme Court, while delivering the verdict last November, had held that the act of placing idols at the site in 1949 amounted to “desecration” and also said there is no evidence of the masjid having been built after razing Hindu temples as the remnants found after excavation go back several centuries before the mosque came up. It had also held that the 1993 demolition of the mosque by kar sevaks was an act that violated the rule of law.
‘Once a mosque, always a mosque’
The AIMPLB reiterated that a mosque always remains a mosque irrespective of what happens to it.
“Today when at the site of the Babri Masjid, the foundation stone of a temple is being laid, AIMPLB feels the need to reiterate that ‘according to the light of the Shariat, where a mosque comes up once, it remains a mosque till eternity’,” reads the statement. “Hence, Babri Masjid was a mosque yesterday, is one today and God willing will remain a mosque. By keeping idols in a mosque, starting pooja there or stopping the namaz that was offered there for a long time, do not change the status of a mosque.”
Sharing the statement on Twitter, the board posted: “#BabriMasjid was and will always be a Masjid. #HagiaSophia is a great example for us. Usurpation of the land by an unjust, oppressive, shameful and majority appeasing judgment can’t change it’s status. No need to be heartbroken. Situations don’t last forever. #ItsPolitics”.
Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, who is an office-bearer of the board, tweeted an old photo of the Babri Masjid alongside celebrations by kar sevaks. “#BabriMasjid thi, hai aur rahegi inshallah #BabriZindaHai,” he tweeted.
— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) August 5, 2020
Though several review petitions were filed in the Supreme Court after the judgment, there were some differences of opinion in internal deliberations. The decision to file review petitions was eventually taken at a long meeting of the AIMPLB working committee. All 29 review petitions were thrown out.
The board called upon Indian Muslims not to be disappointed but to “surrender before affliction” and to “repent over our sins”. “We must learn to strive hard in difficult times,” the statement concluded.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.