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Saturday, October 31, 2020

Far from justice: Muslim law board asks CBI to appeal Babri demolition case order

The Board said in a statement issued by its general secretary Syed Mohammad Wali Rahmani that the verdict was “neither based on evidence and nor in accordance with the law”. “To uphold the rule of law, we urge the CBI to file an appeal,” it said.

Written by Asad Rehman | Lucknow | October 1, 2020 4:00:30 am
Babri Masjid demolition case: A timelineBabri Masjid was demolished in 1992 (Express Archive)

Describing the special court’s verdict in the Babri demolition case as “far from justice”, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) Wednesday urged the CBI to challenge the ruling “to uphold the law”.

The Board said in a statement issued by its general secretary Syed Mohammad Wali Rahmani that the verdict was “neither based on evidence and nor in accordance with the law”. “To uphold the rule of law, we urge the CBI to file an appeal,” it said.

However, the AIMPLB itself  was yet to take a call on its next step. While Rahmani told The Indian Express that its decision would be based on the recommendation of its working committee, AIMPLB secretary Zafaryab Jilani said the Board could legally assist those who wish to become party to an appeal.

“At this point, I can’t say whether the judgment will be challenged by the Board or not. I can only say after getting permission from the Board’s working committee,” Rahmani said.

Jilani, who was a member of the Babri Action Committee, said: “The Board hires lawyers and provides legal help to people who are affected. In the demolition case, there are people whose houses were burnt after the demolition. We will hold talks with lawyers and decide if there are other people who can be made party in the case… an appeal will be filed against today’s judgment on behalf of Muslims.”

Meanwhile, the Board’s statement on the verdict said: “Whatever may be the reasons for acquittal, this is also a fact that many of us have seen videos and photos of the demolition. Who all were part of this conspiracy is an open secret.”

It said: “In 1994, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court stated that the demolition was a ‘National Shame’ and it ‘shook the faith in the rule of law and Constitutional processes. A five-hundred-year-old structure, which was defenceless and whose safety was a sacred trust in the hands of the state government, was demolished’.”

After the demolition of the mosque, a new wave of communal violence emerged in the country and “we all see where we stand today”, the statement said.

“Now we see the verdict without fixing any accountability for the demolition. On this event, we remind our countrymen that the Indian Muslim population stood by the Constitution and democracy when the nation, including the judiciary, failed them on December 6, 1992, and Indian Muslims demonstrated patience nationwide when the Supreme Court awarded the Babri Masjid land…and today the judiciary has maintained the same stride,” it said.

The statement said that “Muslims, minorities, and a large portion of Hindus are ashamed and feel sorry for the current state of affairs”. “Indian Muslims stood, protected, and kept faith in the institutions, which were carved out in 1947. These events have shaken the faith in the temple of democracy and institutions therein,” it said.

In a separate video statement, prominent Sunni cleric and AIMPLB member Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali said Muslim organisations will decide whether the verdict will be challenged or not.

“The Muslims of this country have always respected court decisions and will continue to do so. I don’t have to say anything about the verdict today. Everyone knows that on December 6, 1992, how the Babri Masjid was demolished in full public view and the law of the land was shredded to pieces,” he said.

“Now, Muslim organisations will sit together and decide whether it (today’s judgement) has to be appealed or not. Only time will tell if it is worth appealing or not,” the cleric said.

Iqbal Ansari, a litigant in the Ayodhya land case, said he respects the court’s verdict. “This case should have been ended when the Supreme Court gave its judgment (on the Ayodhya land case). This is a case fought by the CBI for 28 years. They collected all evidence and witnesses. Then, the court gave a judgment. The Muslims of India follow the Constitution. The Constitution is for us, and to follow it is our duty. I respect the judgment the same way I did last year on November 9,” said Ansari.

Haji Mehboob, one of the petitioners in the Ayodhya title suit, said that “it is necessary” to challenge the verdict. “Despite knowing everything, if the court has given this judgment, what can I say? The world knows what happened. We will see what has to be done,” said Mehboob.

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