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Posted Online on Thursday 8, December 2005 22:55 IST

Muslim Islamic NewsBabri Masjid and Muslim India

The Milli Gazette Online


On December 6, 1992, Hindutva extremists pulverized the five hundred year old historic Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. The demolition was then followed by violence directed at Muslims. Rather than taking action against the perpetrators of this heinous crime, the Government of that day and the police further targeted Muslims.

Communal riots broke out in several parts of India and a large number of Muslims were killed, their property looted, and many arrested for protesting against the desecration of their mosque. Victims were treated as perpetrators and perpetrators were left free to terrorize the victims. An atmosphere of barbarity, fear and despondency hovered over the Muslim community. There was darkness all around. Muslims were forced to think about their future in India as their existence was in danger. The onslaught was precise and planned to break the morale of the Muslim community. But the resilient community fought back bravely. It resisted the communal forces with help from their peace loving Hindu countrymen and some political leaders, including VP Singh and Lalu Prasad Yadav.

Muslim India remembers December 6 as a black day. While the wounds were fresh, Indian Muslims observed the day each year remembering the destruction of the Babri Mosque and the ensuing violence. But the passage of time has turned December 6 th into another forgotten day in history

A few Muslim organizations have continued to hold protests and demonstrations on this day. Come December, some Muslim leaders will issue statements from their sprawling offices, demanding the reconstruction of the mosque at the same site in Ayodhya as promised by the former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao. The rest of the year passes without a murmur. The same ritual is repeated again and again. Muslims are no longer interested in the court cases relating to the Babri mosque.

Some Indian Muslim organizations are aware of these cases, but have done very little. Legal activist Mushtaq Ahmad warns that due to the Muslim leadership’s lack of interest, Indian Muslims might lose the related court cases.

He wrote in an English language newspaper that there are four types of cases relating to this dispute. The first type are the Title suits pending in the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court. These suits have been going on since 1950; earlier in the court of the district judge, Faizabad, and for the last seven years before a special bench of the Lucknow High Court consisting of three judges – Justices DK Trivedi, Syed Rafat Alam and J.C. Mishra. Though the advocates have taken an active interest on behalf of the Sunni Central Wakf Board and Hashim Ansari, the hearing is going on at a snail’s pace.

The second type is a criminal case filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against 49 persons allegedly responsible for the demolition of the mosque. This criminal case, implicating leading leaders of the BJP: LK Advani, Ashok Singhal and others, is pending in the court of JP Srivastva, Additional Sessions Judge, Lucknow.

The longer this case drags on, the slimmer is the chance of convicting the accused. There are no checks and balances on the review of this case. There is an urgent need on the part of the Muslim community to intervene in this case, otherwise there is a high likelihood of the case being quashed by the High Court before going to trial.
The third type of case is the contempt of court case pending in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has suo motu issued contempt notices to several BJP leaders. This case is still pending in the Supreme Court since 1993 for no obvious reasons, though subsequent contempt cases have been disposed of.

The fourth type of case is the Liberhan Ayodhya Commission of Enquiry which was set up in 1993 by the then Congress Government to enquire into the circumstances leading to the demolition of the Ram Janam Bhoomi/Babri Masjid complex, persons and organizations responsible, conspiracy behind it, role of the Government, and Government employees, security lapses and attack on journalists etc.

This Commission worked at Lucknow for almost four years. Two leaders related to the Babri Masjid movement appeared before this Commission through their advocates and sought time to file affidavits. No affidavits were filed and after 3-4 months they disappeared from the case. Thus the proceedings of the Commission were going on without any Muslim participation. The Commission shifted its office to the Vigyan Bhavan Annexe, New Delhi around 1997.

The Babri Masjid case is very strong on legal grounds. This can be gauged from the Supreme Court judgment of 24 October 1994 on the Presidential Reference and the Acquisition of Certain Areas at Ayodhya Act. The Supreme Court dubbed the kar sevaks as ‘criminals and vandals’ and said that “the miscreants who demolished the mosque had no religion, caste or creed except the character of a criminal and the mere incident of birth of such a person in any particular community cannot attach the stigma of his crime to the community in which he was born.”

There is an urgent need to fight all the cases with a well-thought-out strategy as, according to late HM. Seervai, a great constitutional expert, no court of law can ignore the prescriptive and other legal rights of the Indian Muslims on the disputed site.

However, a large chunk of the Muslim population is oblivious of the fact that Babri Masjid demolition not only changed Indian politics but also legitimized RSS-brand communalism in India.

RSS, which until 1993 was untouchable and was looked down by secular Hindus, became a legitimate national organization. RSS is now a respectable party and its philosophy is gaining popularity among common people. Today society has become more polarized along religious lines. Indian Muslims are looked down as traitors and terrorists. The Babri Masjid movement has strengthened communal forces in India.

The history of Babri Masjid dispute goes back to 1853, when a sect called the Nirmohis claimed the structure, contending that the mosque stood on the spot where a temple had been destroyed during Babar’s time. Violence erupted from time to time over the issue in the next two years and the civil administration had to step in, refusing permission to build a temple or to use it as a place of worship. In 1885, a local mahant even went to court over the matter, but the court turned down his plea.

The tension continued over the entire century even during the British rule. More trouble followed in post-independence India. The Babari Masjid was very much a mosque where namaaz was said right till its forcible takeover with the help of KK Nayar, the deputy commissioner of Faizabad, later a Jan Sangh MP, and with the connivance of Chief Minister GB Pant who foiled the attempt by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to set right the wrong. Idols were installed inside the mosque on December 22, 1949.

The mosque and its appurtenant land, a graveyard know as Ganj-e-Shaheedan Qabristan, were registered as Waqf No. 26 Faizabad with the UP Sunni Central Board of Waqfs under the Act of 1936. There was sustained harassment of Muslims. The background has been recorded in two reports by the waqf inspector Mohammad Ibrahim, dated December 10 and 23, 1949, respectively to the secretary of the Waqf Board.

The first report complained that “any Muslim going towards the Masjid is accosted and called names, etc…. People there told me that there is a danger to the Masjid from the Hindus…

When the namazis (worshippers) leave, from the surrounding houses shoes and stones are hurled towards the namazis. Muslims, out of fear, do not utter a word. Lohia also visited Ayodhya after Raghodas and gave a lecture…. Don’t harm the graves… The Bairagis said Masjid is Janmabhoomi and so give it to us… I spent the night in Ayodhya and the Bairagis are forcibly taking possession of the Masjid…..”

The FIR lodged by Sub Inspector Ram Dube, Police Station Ayodhya, on December 23, 1949, as certified by the office of the city magistrate on February 11, 1986: “According to Mata Prasad (paper no. 7), when I reached to (sic) Janam Bhoomi around 8 o’clock in the morning, I came to know that a group of 50-60 persons had entered Babri Mosque after breaking the compound gate lock of the mosque or through jumping across the walls (of the compound) with a stair and established therein an idol of Shri Bhagwan and painted Sita Ram, etc, on the outer and inner walls with geru (red loam). Hans Raj on duty asked them to defer but they did not. These persons have already entered the mosque before the available PAC (Provincial Armed Corps) guards could be commanded. Officials of the district administration came at the site and involved themselves in necessary arrangements. Afterwards, a crowd of 5-6 thousand persons gathered around and while chanting bhajans and raising religious slogans tried to enter the mosque but were deferred and nothing untoward happened thereon because of proper arrangements. Ram Das, Ram Shakti Das and 50-60 unidentified others entered the mosque surreptitiously and spoiled its sanctity. Government servants on duty and several others are witnesses to it. Therefore it is written and filed.”

The communal tension in the region worsened when the Vishwa Hindu Parishad got permission to perform shilanyas at the disputed site before the election in November 1989. But the real trouble began when a senior BJP leader LK Advani started a Rath yatra, embarking on a 10,000 km journey starting from the south and heading towards Ayodhya. This sowed the seed of Muslim hatred to far away places. Two years later, Babri Masjid was destroyed – the Rath Yatra played a dominant role in poisoning the heart and minds of illiterate and middle class Hindus. The yatra left a trail of violence and destruction and made minority bashing and the expression of religious prejudice an acceptable behavior, even among the highly educated Indian Hindus.

[Issued by IMC-USA recd from<>]  07-12-05


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