Not just Hindu versus Muslim: Ayodhya dispute has several parties battling each other in court – World

More than 38 days since August 6, a bank of five judges of the Supreme Court has heard the final arguments in the Ayodhya case.

More than 38 days since August 6, a bank of five judges of the Supreme Court has heard the final arguments in the Ayodhya case. The case is often presented in the media as a Hindu-Muslim dispute, hiding the fact that there are several Hindu parties and Muslim parties involved, with significantly different, even contradictory positions.

As explained above by, the case is essentially a dispute over the title of more than 2.77 acres of land in the city of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh. In December 1992, a multitude of supporters of Hindutva demolished a 16th-century mosque on the site, claiming that it had been built by Mughal Emperor Babur in the same place where God Ram was born. The legal battle itself, however, dates back to the 19th century. The current lawsuits being heard by the Supreme Court date back to the procedures of the district court in 1950.

There are three main parts to the case: the Nirmohi Akhara, a group of Hindu ascetics who worship Ram and want to build a temple on the site in dispute; the Sunni Waqf Board, which seeks control of the site in order to rebuild the demolished mosque; and Ram Lalla, the deity placed illegally under the central dome of the demolished mosque in 1949, together with Ramjanmasthan, the declared site of Ram's birth, represented by activists associated with the Sangh Parivar.

In 2010, the Allahabad High Court divided the 2.77 acres disputed between these three parties.

There are several other participants in the case, including the Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas, a trust created by Vishwa Hindu Parishad that supports the case of Ram Lalla, and the All India Shia Conference and the Shia Waqf Board, who claim to represent the Shiite sect.

In the media, these parties have been categorized in general terms such as the Hindu side and the Muslim side. But there are significant differences in what these parties are looking for. While Nirmohi Akhara refuses to recognize Ram Lalla or Ramjanmasthan as legal entities, artificial entities with legal rights that can be represented in the lawsuit, Ram Lalla and Ramjanmasthan oppose Akhara's claim that he is the administrator of the disputed site .

Among the Muslim parties, while the Sunni Waqf Board wants control of the land to build a mosque and has the support of the Shia Waqf Conference across India, the Shia Waqf Board is ready to separate from the land to facilitate the Building a temple Ram.

Nirmohi Akhara vs Ram Lalla

Nirmohi Akhara's claim on the site in dispute dates back to 1885, when Raghubar Das, his mahant, initiated a lawsuit against the administration of Faizabad, the district in which Ayodhya is located. He sought an order from the district court that prevented the administration from interfering with the construction of a Ram temple on the site in dispute. However, the court dismissed this.

After a pause that lasted several decades, the Ayodhya dispute resumed when Ram Lalla's idol was illegally placed under the central dome of the Babri Mosque in December 1949.

In January 1950, GS Visharad, a leader of the Hindu Mahasabha, filed the first lawsuit in the dispute that is currently being heard by the Supreme Court. He wanted the court to protect his right to worship on the site. The Faizabad court accepted his statement and approved an order prohibiting the authorities from withdrawing the idol placed there in 1949.

In the 1960s, Nirmohi Akhara and the Sunni Waqf Board joined the procedures. The driving force of the demands was the decision of the state government to take control of the land, citing communal discord after the idols were placed under the central dome. Akhara's position was that this limited his right as a place manager and degraded his possession. The Sunni Wafq Board, on the other hand, moved to dispute the Akhara's claim on land.

Later, in 1989, Deoki Nandan Agarwal, former judge of the High Court of Allahabad and member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, filed a petition to become the "sakha" or friend of the deity and his birthplace in the claims for the title . The High Court of Allahabad allowed this, paving the way for the deity and the janmasthan become legal personalities with the right to own property.

With the entry of Agarwal, the case had two main Hindu parties claiming possession of the land: Ram Lalla and Ramjanmasthan on the one hand and Nirmohi Akhara on the other. Visharad's claim was not one that claimed title or possession, but only the right to access the site and offer worship.

The Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, November 1990. – Photo courtesy of PTI

Before the Supreme Court, lawyers representing Ram Lalla and Ramjanmasthan said the site in dispute belonged exclusively to the deity.

Leading lawyers K Parasaran and CS Vaidyanathan argued that the Allahabad High Court had erred in its decision to divide the land in three ways. This is because the Ramjanmasthan himself has been worshiped as a deity for thousands of years. A deity cannot be divided because such a movement would affect its holiness.

"The question has been yes [the structure] it's a temple or a mosque, "said Parasaran." Either way, it is an integrated entity. You can't say that physically & # 39; you take this & # 39; and & # 39; you take this & # 39 ;. You cannot divide an institution or divide it. "In other words, there can be no joint possession or joint title of the disputed site that the Hindus consider sacred.

Parasaran invoked the story of King Solomon, who resolved a dispute between two mothers by trying to cut the baby into two halves so that each woman could have a piece. The true mother begged him not to do so, which revealed to Solomon where the truth was.

The Nirmohi Akhara, which the Allahabad High Court granted a third of the disputed site in 2010, also claimed the entire land.

Arguing for the institution, lead attorney SK Jain said on August 23 that Akhara has been in possession of the disputed site as his shebait or manager since time immemorial. He had also filed the lawsuit 30 years before Agarwal's request to represent the deities as a friend moved in 1989. "I have submitted a statement that the decree in the interest of the deity can only be given in shebait & # 39; s please, "he added.

Jain further argued that the idol and Janmasthan should never have been included as parties through a friend, since the Akhara was an existing manager. "There are judgments of the Supreme Court that say that the possession of the temple endowment can only be given to the administrator and not to the next friend of the deity," Jain said. This meant that the Akhara sought possession of the entire disputed structure and was in contradiction with the claim of Ram Lalla and Ramjanmasthan.

The bank repeatedly told the lawyer that an administrator of the temple endowment cannot take a stand against the deity and his rights. Such a position would make your claim dismissed. This forced the lawyer to declare that the Akhara was willing to give up claims to the title deed if his position as manager of the temple endowment is recognized by the parties representing Ram Lalla and Ramjanmasthan.

Sunni vs Shia

The Sunni Waqf Board, an agency created under the Waqf Act to help the government manage Sunni Muslim public property, has been the main Muslim side party in the Ayodhya dispute. In his 1961 lawsuit, he had sought possession of the entire site in dispute. The Shia Waqf Board, however, continues to dispute the right of the Sunni board on the site, arguing that the mosque was a Shia mosque.

The Sunni board claims that Babur built the mosque in the 16th century and that Muslims had been offering prayers on the site continuously until 1949, when Ram Lalla's idol was illegally placed under the central dome and the district administration took over site.

The board has disputed the claims of the Hindu parties that Babur demolished a temple to build the mosque and that the structure of the mosque was built with the material of the ancient temple razed. The board seeks to administer the endowment or waqf of the Babri mosque, with the main objective of rebuilding the mosque.

However, there were several twists and turns in the hearings on the position of the Sunni Waqf Board. The principal lawyer Rajeev Dhawan, during his presentations in August, said the board recognized the position of Nirmohi Akhara as manager of a part of the disputed site that covered the outer courtyard of the demolished mosque, which caused the bank to declare that this It was an argument running against the position of the board in the higher court. The board, however, opposed the case of Ram Lalla and Ramjanmasthan as legal personalities and their land claims.

Meanwhile, the Shia Waqf Board, which deals with Shia Muslim public properties, wants to hand over the disputed site to the Hindu parties for the sake of peace and the integrity of the country. The board filed an application with the Supreme Court in 2018 even though it is not part of the original lawsuits. The All India Shia Conference, which is a defendant in the Sunni Waqf Board lawsuit, on the other hand, supports the Sunni Waqf Board position.

This article originally appeared on and has been reproduced with permission.


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