Hindus claim central dome as birthplace of Lord Ram: SC

Babri Masjid before demolition (File Photo)

The Muslim parties Friday told the Supreme Court they are not denying Ayodhya is the birthplace of Lord Ram but the dispute over the site could not be settled amicably as the Hindu side asserted that the central dome of the demolished mosque was the exact place where the deity was born.

They said that with the demolition of the mosque on December 6, 1992, at the disputed Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri masjid site, the foreign perception of India's secularism and tolerance changed.

The Muslim side stated that one of the scholars had said that India is a bed of multiple civilization but now there is danger of the country becoming just a "Hindu civilization".

The apex court was told by Muslim bodies in the case that though animosity is being raised against the Muslims, Ayodhya is a land where the Hindus and the Muslims have stayed together for centuries.

A five-Judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi was told by senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for the Muslim parties, that they have no dispute that Ayodhya was the birthplace of Lord Ram but Hindus insisted that the exact place of his birth was under the Central dome of the demolished mosque.

"No one including us are denying Ayodhya as the birthplace of Lord Ram. This long-standing dispute would have been settled long back, if it was accepted by the other side that he was not born underneath the Central dome. Hindus insisted that he was born under the Central dome of the mosque. Exact site is the core of the dispute," Dhavan said.

He told the bench, also comprising Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer, that there was "obstructionist defacement" of the Mosque even after the court had appointed a receiver after 1949.

"There had been obstructionist defacement of the Mosque during the period 1950 to 1990 when the court had appointed a court receiver. The pictures of former Faizabad deputy commissioner K K Nayar and Faizabad city magistrate Guru Datt Singh were drawn on the wall. At that time only Hindus were allowed permitted inside the disputed structure. This was illegal and in violation of the court orders," he said.

Elaborating on the obstruction defacement, Dhavan said, "You cannot paint the pillars of the disputed structure with vermilion where it becomes difficult to read the inscriptions even with a magnifying glass, trespassing to place the idols inside the mosque on December 22-23, 1949, putting pressure by taking out Rath Yatras in a pending case or harassing Muslims to prevent worship. Illegality was committed despite the orders of the court".

The senior counsel said religious endowment does not create a title in favour of anybody and when Mughal emperor Babur came it was an idle land and there was no owner of the property.

The bench asked Dhavan to show some authoritative statement on attributing divinity to the mosque and said that in Islam it is considered that only Allah is divine.

"Mosque is a place where you pray to Allah and when you pray five times in a Mosque, the benefits are great," Dhavan said, adding that communal divisiveness and illegality was blamed by the other sides on Muslims but it would also apply to them when they demolished the Mosque in 1992.

"Our case is not to trade allegations of communal divisiveness but to show the flagrant illegalities which are irrefutable in this case and go to the root of this case and are not denied, but celebrated," he said.

"With the demolition of mosque on December 6, 1992, the foreign perception of our secularism and tolerance changed," he said, adding, "though animosity is being raised against the Muslims but Ayodhya is a land where Hindus and Muslim stayed together for centuries".

The senior counsel said, "One of the scholars said that India is a bed of multiple civilization but now there is danger of the country becoming just a Hindu civilization."

Dhavan said every Mosque is sacred to Muslims and in the 1989 they came out with a new concept by proposing deities as juristic person and a party to the title dispute to demolish and destroy the Mosque.

"Janmabhoomi as a juristic entity comes only in 1985 and specifically claimed in 1989, with intent to remove and destroy the existing structure. There was Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Mahasabha, politicians and judges, who came out with a new concept", he said, adding that concept of juristic personality was alien to Vedas.

He also contradicted the claims of ancient India visitors in their travelogues that the Hindus worshipped at the site as Lord Ram's Janmsthan, and said they are nothing but story tellers who mostly relied on hearsay, as some said that mosque was built by Babur and some said that Aurangzeb.

"They (Hindus) placed the idols at the Ram Chabutra only in 1855. So what were they worshipping all along from 1855 to 1989. Every religious place does not become a juristic person," he added.

"It is manifest that, from 1858 the contested case of the Hindus was that prayer was to an idol," Dhavan said, adding that there is no reason why adverse possession, acquisition do not apply to this form of juristic personality.

He said whether a temple existed or was destroyed for a mosque will not affect the status of a mosque which existed for 500 years.

Dhavan without admitting stated that assuming that at one time there did exist a Hindu temple as claimed by the other side, since emperor Babur built a mosque on the disputed site some 433 years ago, the Muslims have perfected their title by adverse possession.

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