The verdict of the Supreme Court in Ayodhya's case has resolved the & # 39; demand for title & # 39; in favor of the main Hindu plaintiff, essentially the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, but it is clear that there is much more at stake for the country than the property of 2.77 acres of land in which a mosque was for 470 years until it was demolished in an act of political vandalism without parallel in the modern world.
The Supreme Court has undone part of the dangerous logic & # 39; based on faith & # 39; from the high court and acknowledged that the way in which Ram's idols were planted in the mosque was illegal and that the demolition of the mosque in 1992 was "an atrocious violation of the rule of law." However, the forces responsible for the demolition are now in legal possession of the land. The site will be managed by a trust that will be established by the government. And the government and the ruling party have in their ranks individuals who have been accused of conspiring to demolish the mosque.
For more than a quarter of a century, & # 39; Ayodhya & # 39; It has served as a metaphor for the politics of revenge, which combines the deployment of a mythology built around the figure of Rama, with Mafia violence, majoritarianism and a spectacular contempt for the government. Of law.
The objective of this policy is to overturn the republic with its premise of equality for all citizens and replace it with a system in which the religious minorities of India, to start, and then other marginalized sectors of the population, are forced to live in perpetual insecurity. .
If the democratic institutions of India had been solid, the demolition of the Babri Mosque on December 6, 1992 should have put an end to this policy permanently rather than simply marking the end of its first phase. Today, that policy has reached a new brand, which is presumably not the last one, given that the national media section is full of information and now the Supreme Court has granted it. Armed with the imprimatur of the court, the Sangh give birth He will do everything possible to erase the stain of justice from the Mafia, which has been the strength but also the weakness of his movement. In August, BJP leaders boasted of how they had used article 370 to kill article 370. Now they hope to use the law to kill justice.
We can pretend everything we like that the Supreme Court was only judging a civil dispute. Actually, there was nothing "civil" in what a judge on the bench had called "one of the most important cases in the world." The dispute cannot be separated from the policy that has driven it.
The demand for title in the Babri Masjid case has been going on in one way or another since 1949, mainly in the local courts of Faizabad, where Ayodhya is located. He assumed national notoriety in the 1980s, thanks to the cynical policy of Lal Krishna Advani, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Rajiv Gandhi and now forgotten villains like Vir Bahadur Singh and Arun Nehru.
BJP leaders conspired to demolish the mosque on December 6, 1992 and a congressional prime minister, Narasimha Rao, allowed them to get their way. The same did the judges of the Supreme Court of the time. Twenty-seven years later, the demolition case continues. Even when all the evidence is recorded and arguments are presented, the result is uncertain since it is no secret that the tax agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation, has intentionally dropped the ball.
Judge S.A. Bobde was right to observe in his interview India today – shortly after being appointed as the next President of the Supreme Court of India – that there have been governments of all political tendencies in power at the Center since the Ayodhya case first arose in 1949. However, the fact that the case ended up being accelerated The moment in which the party in power today is one that openly affirms its partisanship in Ayodhya should be reason enough to worry about what happens next to the Republic. We already have a citizenship bill that explicitly excludes Muslim refugees. A law was passed that penalizes the abandonment of wives by Muslim men, but not by men of other religions. It is no coincidence that the only place where constitutional protections of freedom and freedom of expression do not apply is a region of Muslim majority, Kashmir.
While legal analysts hoped that the bank of five judges would issue a nuanced verdict that would not lend itself to strident triumphalism on either side of the dispute, the clarity of the court's decision in favor of the temple will raise Sangh's morale. give birth.
The fact that the ruling party, and therefore the government, is committed to building a Ram temple on the site of Babri Masjid means that now the road is clear for a rapid implementation of the project. The court has asked the government to set up a board, but apart from insisting on the inclusion of a representative of Nirmohi Akhara, the third plaintiff in the lawsuit, does not appear to have sought the exclusion of individuals and organizations involved in the 1992 demolition.
Even before the verdict, when there was a possibility that the court could confirm the Sunni Waqf Board's claim, there was never any doubt that Babri Masjid was rebuilt on the same site. If they had won, there would have been enormous pressure on the plaintiffs to renounce their claim on land. In fact, in the early hours of the Supreme Court hearings, the president of the Waqf board signed a controversial proposal for & # 39; mediation & # 39; under which he agreed to withdraw the appeal against the judgment of the higher court in exchange for guarantees that no other Muslim place of worship would be assumed thereafter. The other Muslim plaintiffs immediately cried lack. The fact that the main "Hindu" plaintiffs, essentially Vishwa Hindu Parishad, were not even prepared to sign such a guarantee is a sure sign that this "most important case in the world" will probably be followed by others.
The Supreme Court has asked the government to allocate five acres for the construction of a mosque in a suitable place in Ayodhya, forgetting that the importance of the case was not about the availability of a mosque but if someone in India is allowed to use violence to dispossess a person or a community. Unfortunately, that question now seems to have been answered, implicitly, affirmatively. Worse, the dispossession is recognized and "compensated" with five acres elsewhere, but those who made the dispossession can still enjoy the benefits of their crime.
Interestingly, the court has stated that while there was some evidence that the Hindus worshiped on the site in dispute, there is no documentary evidence of Namaz before 1857, therefore, because of the "balance of probabilities" the land is giving the side Hindu. It should be clear that this logic can also be applied to other mosques that Hindutva organizations affirm. Once the Ayodhya temple has been extracted from all political mileage, the Sangh will raise the bet elsewhere.
None of this should surprise us since we were never dealing with a civil dispute between litigants operating on a level playing field, but a bare power game. One in which the political agenda of the "cultural" Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is not hidden and the prejudices of the governments of Uttar Pradesh and Central are in sight. That is why also the insistence of the Supreme Court in mediation was so wrong.
Destination of the criminal case
Although the apex court chose to prioritize the lawsuit over the title, quickly bringing it to the conclusion, it is not clear how the bank tries to safeguard the case of demolition of its verdict over the "property dispute."
In his interview with India todayJudge Bobde denied that the court was trying to legislate on matters of faith. He agreed with the suggestion that it is a "title dispute," but added: "The only thing is, what is the nature of that structure, that is one of the issues. But even that structure no longer exists." .
Shouldn't it be one of the problems then also why "that structure", that is, the Babri Mosque, "no longer exists"?
The main beneficiaries of Saturday's Supreme Court verdict are organically linked to the main defendants in the crime of demolishing the mosque. If Ayodhya's case is really one of the most important cases in the world, it is because of the violence with which it is associated. Can this case really be resolved, then, without punishing the leaders responsible for that violence?
The bank of five judges represented an impressive variety of judicial wisdom. Unfortunately, his trial does not offer indicators on this fundamental issue.
This article was originally published in The wire and has been reproduced with permission.