Ayodhya: When did the Centre abandon Sri Ram? – K.N. Bhat

Babri Masjid, Ayodhya, UP

K. N. Bhat“The Sunni Wakf Board, one of the plaintiffs, raised detailed objections against the ASI’s report [on its Ayodhya excavations]. ASI officials were cross-examined to discredit the findings, but the high court by its historical judgement on September 30, 2010, held that there was a temple on which the mosque was built. … Where are those Muslim leade­rs who were ready to hand ov­er the place to the Hindus, if it was found that a Hindu temple existed beneath the mos­que? ” – K.N. Bhat

Amit ShahLast Saturday, when Amit Shah, BJP national general secretary and in-charge of Uttar Pradesh for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, told reporters, “I have prayed that we together build a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya as soon as possible and restore Lord Ram to his rightful place,” there were frenzied reactions and comments by self-appointed secularists, and this was reflected in the media as if a heinous offence had been committed.

As a lawyer of respectable vintage, I dare say that wishing for a Ram temple in Ayodhya, on the disputed site, is not an offence not legally. Recalling the recent recorded history relating to Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid tells us that the temple issue was in the past treated as a national problem and that it continues to be one.

Following the razing of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, the President of India made a reference to the Supreme Court on March 9, 1993, for its opinion on whether a Hindu temple or any Hindu religious structure existed where the Babri Masjid stood.

During the hearing of the special reference and petitions filed by the residents of Ayodhya challenging the Central Ordinance of 1993 that sought to acquire the entire disputed area, the Supreme Court asked the Central government to clarify the purpose of the special reference.

Sri RamaThe then solicitor general of India, Dipankar Gupta, made a statement in writing on behalf of the Union of India on September 14, 1994, that said: The government stands by the policy of secularism and of even-handed treatment of all religious communities.

The Ac­quisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act, 1993 as well as the presidential reference, ha­ve the objective of maintaining public order and promoting communal harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst the people of India.

The government is committed to the construction of a Ram temple and a mosque, but their actual location will be de­termined only after the Sup­reme Court renders its opinion in the presidential reference.

The government will treat the finding of the Supreme Court on the question of fact referred under Article 143 of the Constitution as a verdict, which is final and binding. In the light of the Supreme Court’s opinion and consistent with it, the government will make efforts to resolve the controversy by a process of negotiations.

Ram Temple on the Babri Masjid site after the demolition.Government is confident that the opinion of the Supreme Court will have a salutary effect on the attitudes of the communities and they will no longer take conflicting positions on the factual issue settled by the Supreme Court.

“If efforts at a negotiated settlement as aforesaid do not succeed, the government is committed to enforce a solution in the light of the Supreme Court’s opinion and consistent with it. The government’s action in this regard will be even-handed in respect of both the communities. If the question referred is answered in the affirmative, namely, that a Hindu temple/structure did exist prior to the construction of the demolished structure, the government action will be in support of the wishes of the Hindu community. If, on the other hand, the question is answered in the negative, namely, that no such Hindu temple/ structure existed at the relevant time, then government action will be in support of the wishes of the Muslim community.”

This statement was preceded by a White Paper published by the Central government that stated: “During the negotiations aimed at finding an amicable solution to the dispute, one issue which came to the fore was whether a Hindu temple had existed on the site Hari Vishnu inscription found at the Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya.occupied by the disputed structure and whether it was demolished on Babar’s orders for the construction of the masjid. It was stated on behalf of the Muslim organisations, as well as by certain eminent historians, that there was no evidence in favour of either of these two assertions. It was also stated by certain Muslim leaders that if these assertions were pro­ved, the Muslims would voluntarily hand over the disputed shrine to the Hindus. Natu­rally, this became the central issue in the negotiations bet­ween the Vishwa Hindu Pari­shad and the All India Babri Masjid Action Committee.”

The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court declined to respond to the special referen­ce. Instead, it in turn revived and restored the five suits be­fore the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, each claiming title to the disputed land, thus creating ample opp­o­rtunity to find an answer to the query raised by the refere­n­ce. (The five suits had been an­nulled by the 1993 Ordinance.)

Dwarapala from Ayodhya masjid site.The high court, during the course of hearing of the pending litigations in 2003, directed that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) should conduct an excavation of the site where the Babri Masjid stood. Stra­n­gely, the Hindus seem to have opposed the move for excavation while the Muslims welcomed it.

The excavation was completed and the ASI submitted a voluminous report in 2003 itself, with photographs and sketches of the details of the revelations and discoveries. The categorical finding was that there was a Hindu temple of antiquity and on its four walls stood the Babri Masjid.

The Sunni Wakf Board, one of the plaintiffs, raised detailed objections against the ASI’s report. ASI officials were cross-examined to discredit the findings, but the high court by its historical judgement on September 30, 2010, held that there was a temple on which the mosque was built.

The high court also recorded a significant finding, stating that the place immediately below the central dome of the demolished structure was, according to the belief of the Hindus, the birthplace of Lord Rama.

Appeals against the judgement of the high court are pending before the Supreme Court, but the ASI’s findings as recorded by the high court should be sufficient to settle the dispute.

Haji MehboobThe nature of the dispute is such that it cannot be resolved through litigation; it will have to be settled amicably.

The pertinent question is, where are those Muslim leade­rs who were ready to hand ov­er the place to the Hindus, if it was found that a Hindu temple existed beneath the mos­que? The Congress governme­nt, not too long ago, made conciliatory efforts. They can do that even now, if they have the will. – Deccan Chronicle, 10 July 2013

HVHI K.N. Bhat, senior advocate,  Supreme Court of India, represented “Ram Lalla” as senior counsel in the litigation before the Allahabad High Court.

Proposed Ram Temple on Babri Masjid site.

See also

  1. Supreme Court stays Allahabad High Court verdict on Ayodhya – J. Venkatesan

  2. “The material unearthed included pillars with engravings on them and an outlet for water in the form of a crocodile mouth” – Dr. R. Nagaswamy

  3. Ayodhya: Deciding battle for the Hindu Nation – Radha Rajan

  4. Video: Dr. Koenraad Elst comments on Ayodhya history and the Ayodhya verdict 2010 – India Nationalist Post

  5. Ayodhya: Mosque can be relocated according to Islamic principles – Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

  6. Ayodhya: Triumph of Truth – Sandhya Jain

  7. Ayodhya: A Historical Watershed – Girilal Jain

  8. Faith, history, archaeology and logic support the rebuilding of the Ram temple at Ayodhya – R. Balashankar

  9. Sri Ramajanmabhumi and the Liberhan Ayodhya Commission Report – Ashok Singhal

  10. Book Review: Is Sri Rama a modern deity? – Rohit Srivastava

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