December 6th, 1992 was one of the most iconic days in Indian history when a mob of karsevaks armed with weapons stormed the ramparts of a 16th-century Babri Masjid in the holy city of Ayodhya and reduced the historic monument to rubble. The demolition of the Masjid triggered communal riots in various sensitive pockets of the country in which 2000 people got killed with fuming repercussions.
25 years down the line and people in the region are still testimony to those horrifying moments of communal fury, that remains instrumental in the revival of Hindu fundamental sentiments across the nation, with the sole aim to restore the Hindutva ideologies, that were buried in the ravages and conquests of time.
As the Supreme Court began the hearing of the decades-old Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute from Tuesday, to address a batch of 13 appeals which has been pending with the Allahabad High Court, since a 3 judge bench comprising of Justice Dipak Mishra (CJI), Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer began the preliminary hearing of the case way back in 2002.
Many experts believe that the razing of the Babri Masjid was a paradigm shift in the Indian political scenario. It was the turning point when the existing “ideological nationalism” was replaced by a new age “cultural nationalism”.
The core Hindu ideology behind tearing down the Babri Masjid is the belief that the masjid has been built after the destruction of Ram temple, as Ayodhya is considered as the birthplace of Lord Rama.
On the other hand, the Muslims contend that the mosque was built by a seer Mir Baqi in 1528, a sacred place of their worship, was desecrated again by Hindus in 1949 by placing an idol of Lord Ram. The first communal clashes over the disputed site was recorded back in 1853
In survey ordered by the High Court, the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) even found evidence of a temple built under the mosque.
According to the verdict delivered by the Allahabad High Court in 2010, the disputed 2.77 acres of land should be allotted to two Hindu organizations Nirmohi Akhara, Ram Lalla Vrajmaan and the Sunni Waqf board.
On 5th December Tuesday, the day before the 25th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition, and the day for the much-awaited hearing on Ayodhya issue, the Supreme Court deferred the commencement of the final hearing to 8th February 2018.
Senior advocates Kapil Sibal representing the Sunni Waqf board, along with Rajeev Dhawan and Dushyant Dhawan urged the apex court to adjourn the hearing till Lok Sabha polls due in July 2019, a plea however rejected by the court. Sibal along with his fellow petitioners questioned the “urgency” in the hearing of the case and referred it to be heard before a five or seven-judge bench.
Sibal argued that the petitioners pleaded for a reasonable time frame to file and serve the documents. He further maintained that the exchange of documents, reading over 90,000 pages document and preparing arguments on basis of that will take months.
He also pointed the BJP’s political motive or “hidden agenda” to expedite the hearing which concurs with its 2014 election manifesto to build the Ram temple.
Meanwhile, BJP chief Amit Shah challenged Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi to clarify his stand on Ram Mandir as on one hand fellow congress member is lobbying for Muslims in the apex court while on the other hand, Rahul Gandhi is visiting temples for electoral gain.
While the saffron brigade seems resolute in its building Ram Mandir, Congress is beating around the bush and reluctant to come clean on the Ayodhya issue.