Rajeev Dhavan, a lawyer for the Muslim side in the Ayodhya case, has said in the context of the Supreme Court’s verdict on the Ayodhya issue that injustice had been meted out to Muslims living in India. He added that it’s always Hindus who spoil peace and harmony in the country. Muslims have never done such a thing according to him. He targeted the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in his speech, too.
According to news agency ANI, the senior advocate said that the Sangh Parivar behaved like the Taliban! He recalled the incident of lynching of Akhlaq in Dadri on the suspicion that he was in possession of beef, an issue that was the favourite of the opposition party and the section of media sympathetic to them only until the Bihar election of 2015.
“Who is responsible for Gauri Lankesh?” Dhavan asked, continuing, “Who is responsible for the crime in Goa and Dabholkar?” The lawyer was speaking to news channel Times Now.
Dhavan asked who desecrated the Babri mosque in 1934, who lynched, who committed the murders.
When Dhavan tore a document in court
Even during the Supreme Court hearing in the Ayodhya case, senior advocate of the Sunni Waqf Board Dhavan had torn a pictorial map which marked the birthplace of Lord Rama. This map had been placed before the court by senior advocate Vikas Singh on behalf of the All India Hindu Mahasabha.
The legal fraternity had condemned Dhavan’s act of tearing the map. They said a lawyer should maintain the dignity of the court during the proceedings.
During the hearing on 16 October in the case, Dhavan, appearing for the Muslim side, tore the map in front of then Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, to which the CJI and other judges surprisingly did not issue a warning. Vishnu Shankar Jain, a lawyer for the Hindu Mahasabha, had said that Dhavan’s behaviour was unethical, unprofessional and that he should not have done so.
Maulana Suhaib Qasmi, the chairman of the Ayodhya Negotiations Committee, criticised the act and said that the behaviour of the senior counsel was inappropriate.
Nirmohi Akhara spokesperson Karthik Chopra had said whatever Dhavan did was wrong but the then CJI allowed him to tear the map. Lawyers not connected with this case criticized Dhavan, too.
Lawyer MS Khan criticised Dhavan’s behaviour and said, “Although the CJI had allowed senior counsel to tear the map, he should not have done so. The court should maintain its dignity.”
The All India Hindu Mahasabha had written a letter to the president of the Bar Council of India, demanding action against the senior advocate.
Strange arguments, stranger colleagues
Besides, Dhavan made some strange arguments in the course of the hearing in the Ayodhya case. For example, by quoting a verse of Allama Iqbal, born centuries after the Mughal invasion, he tried to prove that Babur was a tolerant king!
He was assisted by equally weird conduct by fellow-advocates on the Muslim side. For example, Meenakshi Arora had said that every chapter of the ASI had a mention of the authors, but its summary did not. The next day, Dhavan had to apologise on her behalf.
Another colleague of Dhavan, lawyer and AIMPLB secretary Zafaryab Jilani, who now wants to file a review petition challenging the Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya, had argued that the absence of a mention of the demolition of a Ram temple on the site in Ramcharitmanas proved no temple had been demolished on the spot. As though a holy book is supposed to be like a newspaper, compiling reports of daily incidents of the time when it is composed!