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Published in the 16-31 Dec 2003 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Babri remembered in annual ritual

New Delhi: Yet another year has passed since Babri demolition. It is now the 11th anniversary since a mob demolished the historic mosque in Ayodhya on 6 December 1992. Quite expectedly, the premier Muslim body in the country decided to hold its annual ritual to mourn and remember the demolished Masjid.

Advocate OP Sharma speaking at the symposium

On the solemn occasion of the 11th demolition anniversary, All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) aided by the Babri Masjid Movement Coordination Committee (BMMCC), organised a symposium on 'Towards Final Judicial Verdict' at Gandhi Peace Foundation here on 6 December.

Expressing his views on the occasion, senior Supreme Court advocate OP Sharma said that it was the then UP chief minister Kalyan Singh who deceived the judiciary and played a key role in getting the Babri Masjid demolished. Sharma has been struggling hard to maintain status quo of the Masjid, and has been acting as the counsel for Mohammad Aslam Bhure, one of the plaintiffs in the demolition case. Sharma has also been instrumental in getting the Liberhan Commission constituted for inquiring into the demolition case.

"The complicity of the State in subverting the due process of law and hastening the demolition of the Babri Masjid under Kalyan Singh's administration was a highly shameful act and completely unpardonable," Sharma said. He lamented that the district administration and judicial proceedings did not succeed to save the sanctity of the mosque. "Criminals must be punished for their anti-national crimes," Sharma said.

Sharma said that he had moved the Supreme Court to strike off flaws in the UP government notification of Allahabad High Court. He urged the Muslim organisations to help and cooperate with him in the legal battles on the issue.

Eminent archaeologist Prof Suraj Bhan charged that during the recently conducted excavations process, no top archaeologist from the Archaeological Survey of India was involved. Disclosing that what was found during the excavation were the foundations of a previous mosque of the Sultanate period, he said that the results in no way showed that a mandir was demolished for building the Babri Masjid in its place. The excavations report do not suggest any findings of a temple structure or foundation or sankh (conch shell), dhupdaan (Incense case) etc., in order to claim that a temple existed prior to the construction of the Babri Masjid. He disclosed that the excavation team has flouted all rules to prove a case and gave other examples of similar behaviour like proving Saraswati river.

Prominent CPI leader, Atul Kumar 'Anjan', said that the activities of revivalist and fascist forces in the name of 'cultural nationalism' are nothing but a devious and ill-conceived plan against religious minorities in the country. "This is a sheer deviation from basic goals of democracy and good governance," he said.

AIMMM leader and convenor of BMMCC, Syed Shahabuddin, said that the government was obliged to obey the Constitution. "After excavations it was proved that there was a mosque beneath the Babri Masjid structure and not a mandir. The excavations also established that people had been residing for over four hundred years there before Babri Masjid was built," he said.

Maulana Mohammad Shafi Munis, vice president of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, said that Muslims were always ready to surrender the place if it was proved before the judiciary that the mosque was built after demolishing a mandir.

Jamilur Rahman

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