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Ayodhya case: Argument of Muslim side that irked CJI

After advocate for Ram Lalla Virajman CS Vaidyanathan asked the Muslim side to make up its mind whether Babur built a mosque on a razed idgah or flat ground, Rajiv Dhavan’s answer irritated CJI Ranjan Gogoi

The Ram temple and Babri Masjid land title dispute in Ayodhya is proceeding on a daily basis in the Supreme Court. The 35th-day hearing was completed on Tuesday. During the hearing of the Ayodhya case, there came a time when Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi got angry with Rajeev Dhavan, one of the lawyers for the Muslim side, for some argument. However, seeing the displeasure of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, advocate Dhavan apologised promptly.

On the 35th day of the hearing in the Ayodhya case, advocate CS Vaidyanathan on behalf of Ram Lalla Virajman started arguments in response to the those of the Muslim side. He rejected the Muslim side’s argument that there could have been an Idgah, not the Wall No. 18 of an ancient temple (number 18) found in the archaeological discovery.

Vaidyanathan said that the Muslim side was claiming that there was an Idgah there before 1528; then should it be believed that the Mughals demolished it and built the mosque? The Muslim side has stated that the mosque was built on flat ground, but now they are saying that the mosque was built by breaking the Idgah!

Dhavan said it was not so. “This wall is not a part of the temple. It has not been excavated,” adding, “We filed a case in 1961. How would we know? Today you are saying that the mosque was built by breaking the Idgah. This is a new matter.”

This irked Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi who said that the hearing could not go on like this. Advocates of the Muslim side are repeatedly telling the bench the same thing that they have said before, the CJI said. “Do they think that the bench does not use its mind?” After this, Dhavan apologised and the hearing proceeded.

Interpretation of Ayodhya archaeology

The Muslim side in the Ayodhya case appears to have come ill-prepared to argue the case. The Islamic relic found by the Archaeological Survey of India contained funeral prayers aka requiem in the Arabic script. Therefore, chances are higher that the inscriptions belonged to a graveyard, a tombstone or a mausoleum. This is no evidence of an Idgah.

Where does the temple demolition theory stand then? Well, speaking strictly according to history, it is unlikely that the early Islamic invaders left a Hindu temple intact right in the middle of their trail of destruction, said historian Koenraad Elst in an interview with Surajit Dasgupta. By the time Babur or his general Mir Baqi arrived in Ayodhya, they might well have found an abandoned land.

This is a contentious stand due to which differences cropped up between historian Elst and Sangh Parivar’s thought leaders, but the theory is compelling indeed, says Dasgupta. He¬†adds, “But before the first Mughals arrived, the local Muslim population could have built a graveyard on the spot, which fell into disuse with time. Ergo, the chronology seems to be

  1. Vishnu temples by various Hindu kings in different eras since 1000 BC
  2. a period of decline of Hindus in medieval India
  3. local Hindus moving away out of fear of life or for economic reasons
  4. Muslims occupying the land but abandoning it later on before another group of Muslims walked in”

The editor-in-chief of Sirf News says the chances that a Hindu temple on the plot, a title case of which is being heard in the Supreme Court, was demolished by a Muslim invader are very high, “but one is not sure whether that invader was Babur or some Muslim conqueror centuries before him”.

Elst says that the land belongs to Hindus for the simple reason that this community alone reveres it whereas Ayodhya holds no special place in the faith of Islam or in the practice of Muslims.