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No temple beneath Babri
By Obaid Nasir, Lucknow

Lucknow: ‘There has not been any temple beneath Babri Masjid,’ said world-renowned historian and archaeologist, Professor Shirin F. Ratnagar deposing before Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court hearing Babri Masjid Ram Janam Bhoomi case.

It may be noted that the three judge bench comprising Justice Sudhir Narain, Justice S. Rafat Alam and Justice Bhanwar Singh is hearing the case on daily basis after the union government requested it to expedite the case urgently. Professor Shirin is the 27 th witness on behalf of Muslims ."Even Dr. S P Gupta, a historian liked by Vishwa Hindu Parishad has not mentioned in his book that there has been any building of Mughal era beneath the Babri Masjid" asserted Professor Shirin who has written the foreword of the said book.

In an unprecedented development the bench has decided to visit the disputed site to have the first hand information about the disputed area. In 117 years old history of the dispute the judicial officers even in Faizabad have never bothered to visit the disputed area. The High Court team will be visiting disputed site in Ayodhya on 4 May and the district. administration has been directed to make all the arrangements including security. 

Deposing before the bench Professor Shirin asserted that historians all over the world are of the firm opinion that there has not been any temple beneath the Babri Masjid .Expressing her personal opinion she said that she too had studied all the documents and examined the land after excavation and came to the conclusion that Babri Masjid was constructed on a plain land and there has never been any temple on the masjid land. 

Mr. Hari Shankar Jain, advocate representing Hindu Mahasabha asked her about the perils of Parsis after Arabs conquered Iran. She said that Parsis left Iran not out of any atrocity committed by Arab rulers. She said that by and large Iranians, including Parsis, were happy with Arab rulers. Even today many religious communities including Parsis are living in Iran and they are not facing any discrimination because of their religious beliefs. When an advocate of the opposite party asked her weather she has accepted huge amount from certain Muslim countries to depose before the court and to deny the existence of any temple beneath the Babri Masjid, the advocates representing Muslims including Zafaryab Jilani, Abdul Mannan, Mushtaq Ahmad Siddiqui and Tayyab Ali Khan etc. lodged strong protest compelling the advocate to withdraw his remarks. 

Professor Shirin further claimed that the items obtained from the ruins of demolished Babri Masjid have no archaeological value and they could not be accepted as a witness of existence of any temple beneath the demolished Masjid by the court. She however accepted that she has never visited the disputed site and all her conclusions are based on the study of old documents, archeological evidences and documents.

After Professor Shirin Ratnagar renowned cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawwad appeared before the court and recorded his statement on a question by Mr. Vireshwar Dwivedi advocate representing temple side that emperor Babar or his commander Mir Baqi constructed the temple by demolishing the Ram Janam Bhoom Mandir to show their might and power ,Maulana Kalbe Jawwad replied that Masjids are constructed to bow before the Almighty and All powerful and not to show one's might or power. 

Maulana Kalbe Jawwad asserted that there is nothing like Shia or Sunni Masjid once the Masjid is constructed it becomes the house of God and any Muslim can use it for religious purposes particularly for offering namaz. He said that it is common that Sunnis offer Namaz in Masjids constructed by Shias and vice versa. On differences among Sunnis and Shias Maulana asserted that there are five schools of thought in Islam and one among them is Fiqh Jafaria and any one practicing any of these five fiqhs is Muslim is a unanimous resolution (Ijma) adopted by the Al-Azhar University of Egypt.

The situation took an ugly turn when advocates representing temple side asked certain provocative questions with regard to the War of Badr (Jange Badr). Advocates representing Muslim side took strong exception compelling commissioner Narendra Singh to snub these advocates and he asked them to desist from asking such questions which may hurt the religious sensibilities of any witness. He also asked him to keep in mind the social and religious status of the witness.

Earlier senior socialist leader and Editor of Tauheed Mail, Chaudhary Sibte Mohammad Naqvi appeared before the bench and said that being a citizen of Faizabad he has many a times saw Muslims offering namaz in Babri Masjid and it is ridiculous to say that namaz has not been offered in that mosque since 1936.

The advocates representing temple side as usual tried to tease him by asking certain mischievous questions but Chaudhary saheb himself took them to task and the court room burst into laughter.

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