Statement on the Judgement of the Allahabad High Court on the Ayodhya Dispute
Released at the National Meeting called by Anhad
Ayodhya Verdict: Repercussions and Civil Society's Response
15 Oct 2010
A meeting of concerned citizens, academics, writers, lawyers, social workers and activists took place on 15 Oct 2010 in Delhi to discuss the issues arising out of the judgment on Ayodhya.
They were unanimous in their dismay over the judgement of the three judges of the Special Full Bench of the Allahabad High Court, who recently passed their final verdict in the 60 year old title suits over the bitterly contested property in Ayodhya. They were distressed with the grave implications of this judgement for Indian public life, and the principles of justice, secularism, democracy and rationality.
The judgments of Justice DV Sharma and Justice Sudhir Aggarwal are based on language and arguments which effectively and dramatically invert the principle of a secular state, which subordinate faith to law, by making the law subordinate to faith. The non-secular, nay, anti-secular idiom of the judgments of the two Judges is deeply disturbing.
The meeting was of the opinion that verdict constitutes a dangerous precedent, which can be used against other vulnerable groups in future, like dalits, tribals and women. For almost 500 years, Muslims had worshipped routinely in the Babri Mosque, while Hindus worshipped at the Ram Chabutra in the open area adjacent to the mosque, in a spirit of mutual communal goodwill. The disputed claim of Hindus to the land on which the mosque stood is based on naked aggression from 1949 to 1992. With this judgement, the movement which challenged India’s secular Constitution and took hundreds of lives, and fostered fear and hate has triumphed.
This movement demanding that a grand Ram Temple should be built on the site in Ayodhya where the Babri Masjid stood, is often understood to be a clash between Hindus and Muslims. The meeting affirmed that there is indeed no such clash, and there never has been. It has always been a dispute between two alternate visions of India; between Hindutva and secularism; between a minority of persons unreconciled to the secular democratic idea of India, and the majority of Indians of every faith who believe in and live this idea.
The judgement reopens again the question about the terms on which people of minority faiths would have to relate to cultural domination of the religious Hindu majority. In effect, it interrogates the guarantees of the Indian Constitution, which pledged equal rights and equal protection of all persons, regardless of their religious persuasion. Both in courts of law, but more importantly in the arenas of society and the polity, the meeting resolved to battle for the restoration of the values of the freedom struggle, and the Constitution which the people of India gave themselves.
Aban Raza, student
Amit Sengupta, journalist
Anil Chaudhary, peace
Anupam Gupta, advocate, Chandigarh
Anuradha Marwah, AAEA,
Apoorvanand, Departemnt of Hindi,Delhi University.
Arjun Dev, educationist
Asad Zaidi, poet, writer
Avinash Kumar, Oxfam India
Bhasha Singh, journalist
Dominic Emmanual, Information Bureau of Catholic Archdiocese.
Dr.Suresh Khairnar, All India Secular Forum, Nagpur, Maharashtra
Farah Naqvi, Independent Writer and Activist
Gauhar Raza, poet, doumentary filmmaker
Hakeem Irfan, journalist
Harsh Dobhal, Executive Director, Human Rights Law Network
Harsh Maneder, Aman Biradari
Humra Quraishi, Journalist.
K.M.Shrimali, Department of History, Delhi University.
Karen Gabriel, St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University
Madan Lal Arora
Manoj Mitta, journalist
Mansi Sharma, social activist, Anhad
Mohan Kumawat, Anhad Media.
Mukul Manglik, academician
Nandini Sundar, academician
Neelabh Mishra, journalist
P.K. Vijayan, Hindu College, Delhi University.
Priyanka Gautam, Anhad Media.
Prof. K.N. Panikkar.
Rajendran Prabhakar, PUCL- Karnataka.
Rakesh Bhardwaj, PEACE.
Ram Puniyani, All India Secular Forum.
Roop Rekha Verma, former Vice Chancellor, Lucknow University
S.Irfan Habib, NUEPA
S.Venkateshan, Danchurch Aid.
S.M.A. Kazmi, Sr. Advocate.
Sania Hashmi, Anhad Media.
Vineet Tiwari,Sandarbh Kendra.
Sheetla Singh, Editor Jan Morcha, Faizabad
Shesh Narain Singh.
Uttam Bhai Parmar.
Zafar A. Haqsav, FFCL
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