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Special prayers for ‘Babri mosque’ title suit this Eid The Final Judgment?

Updated: September 25, 2010 12:35 pm

The Eid prayers this year will be very special for the Muslims in general and for Muslims of Uttar Pradesh in particular. The minority congregations which will gather for the mandatory thanks-giving Eid namaz at different idgahs all over the country will all have one common prayer on their lips—that the court judgment in ‘Babri Masjid’ title suit is announced in their favour on September 24. One of the most-awaited court verdicts, it is in fact judgment day for the entire nation after an 18-year-long judicial battle on a highly sensitive title suit. The ‘Babri mosque’ in Ayodhya was demolished on December 6, 1992, in broad daylight by groups of Hindu extremists. The move had led to nationwide communal riots which left several hundred people dead. While no date has yet been announced for the verdict, it is likely that the three-member special bench of Allahabad High Court, comprising Justices SU Khan, Sudhir Agarwal and DV Sharma, will announce the crucial judgment on September 17. Earlier to the conclusion of legal formalities in July 2010, the bench had made an appeal to both the parties to come to an amicable mutual agreement. But as expected, the appeal had no takers from both the sides.

                Both the parties have staked claim to the same site. While the Muslims insist that it is the site of the mosque and hence of reverence to them, the Hindus claim that it is the birthplace of Lord Rama and that is why they are the original claimant to the place.

                “There was absolutely no question of any possibility of

an amicable settlement in the case as the other party is not ready to give up the plan of constructing a temple at the place where ‘Babri Masjid’ stood till December 6, 1992. The sole option is the judgment of the court,” said convener of the All India Babri Masjid Action Committee (AIBMAC) and lawyer in the main title suit for Sunni Waqf Board, Mr Zafaryab Jilani.


The dismissal of Prof TJ Joseph, the Malayalam professor whose right palm was chopped off by Islamic fundamentalists has now been dismissed from service by the Newman College management alleging that he had caused deep wounds in the Muslim psyche in the state for writing an article which a section of the Muslim community has considered, blasphemous.

                The Kothamangalam diocese, which is running the management of Newman college, has taken this extreme step to convince a section of the Muslim community that the diocese is not directly involved in what was written by the professor. In simple words, this action of the Kothamangalam diocese could be termed as sort of spinelessness or maybe going the extra step to woo the Muslim community taking into consideration the possibility of a Congress-led UDF government coming up in the state after the assembly elections of 2011. Generally the Muslim League holds the education portfolio and there are already allegations of the Muslim League leadership having hand and glove relationship with the Islamist fundamentalist organisation, Popular Front which is alleged to be the mastermind in chopping off the right palm of the professor.

                The incident has however led to a major division in the society with a horde of Christian intellectuals and common people totally denouncing the Christian church management’s decision to expel the professor.

                Students and teachers alike of the college have also responded against the management’s unilateral decision to expel the professor taking the Islamic threat as a benchmark. Abin Jose, a second year student of Newman College, Thodupuzha while speaking to Uday India said that he had taken part in the controversial question paper set by Prof Joseph, but has not found anything derogatory against Prophet Mohammed. Abin also said that the expulsion of the professor from the college has not gone down well with the students as well as local people from among the Christian community. Raju Antony, a Roman Catholic from Kothamangalam who is a rubber dealer, while speaking to Uday India said that there could be repercussions from the Christian youths and called upon all like-minded people to unite against the grave injustice done to one of the best teachers produced my Newman College.

                He also said that the Christian youths can also unite to do something mischievous which can rip apart the society. Raju Antony also said that for the first time he had the feeling of Christianity in him and he blamed the Islamic organisations for creating a mountain out of a molehill.

                He said that several Christian students, teachers and common people in and around Thodupuzha, Kothamangalam and Muvattupuzha have the feeling that they have to unite and fight against the Islamic terror operations. When contacted a highly placed officer of the state police on the condition of strict anonymity said that the college management has started playing with fireball, which could eventually lead to vertical polarisation of the society in central Travancore. He further added that the relatively peace-loving Christian population in the state will also be entering into a communal movement which could ultimately result in more bloodshed.

                It may be recalled that the Taliban court “Darul Khuda” which means God’s abode had ordered the chopping off the hand of Prof Joseph. The head of this Taliban court, organised by the Popular Front, is one Easa Moulavi who is also one of the members of the Imams’ council, a paper organisation floated by the Popular Front to garner the support of the Muslim clergy.

                The arrested have already told the police that Taliban court was directly involved in giving the orders for chopping the hand of Prof Joseph. Sources in the central intelligence agencies believe that the college management has received more threats from Islamist organisations to expel the professor or to face further consequences. According to a highly-placed officer with the agency, the Popular Front leadership, which is considered to be the Indian arm of the al Qaeda has threatened the college management that there would be more severe damage to the college management and individuals if Prof Joseph was not expelled.

                Even the spokesperson of the Kerala Catholic Bishop’s conference Father Paul Thattayil came out with strong statements against the Newman College management decision to expel Prof Joseph. A large number of priests and nuns and ordinary believers conducted a march the other day towards the Kothamangalam Arch Diocese, which is the management of the college.

                State Education Minister MA Baby came out with a strong statement that the management has forgotten about all human consideration in expelling the college professor who was already broke both mentally and physically following the attack.

                However, barring some exceptions, Muslim groups welcomed the decision of the college management. Dr Fasal Gafoor who is the president of the Muslim Education Society, which runs a medical college, welcomed the college management’s decision to expel the professor.

                However, political organisations in the state opposed the college management’s decision to expel Prof Joseph.

                Congress state president Ramesh Chennithala while speaking to Uday India said that the decision of the college management has to be studied in detail before giving a comment. He however added that the society has to forgive and forget to move ahead and called upon all concerned to destroy communal hatred from their minds.

                BJP leader and party national executive member and former president PS Sreedharan Pillai while speaking to Uday India said that the decision of the college management is in fact deplorable and has to be immediately revoked. He called upon the state government to take the necessary steps to prevent communal elements from exploiting the situation.

                The RSS leadership in Kerala has already called upon the management to revoke the decision and said that there could be a severe division in the society with this single decision.

                The CPI-M state committee has already condemned the decision of the college management to expel Prof Joseph and has asked the manage-ment to revoke the decision.

By Reshmi Padma from Thiruvananthapuram

The Muslim political leaders, including Mr Jilani, are highly optimistic that the judgment will be in their favour. They are expressing this confidence publically too, saying that while they have full trust on judiciary, the basis of evidences and proceedings of the case also strengthen their hope of victory.

                “We will respect the court’s verdict and are eagerly awaiting it.” Jilani told Uday India.

                He said in these years they have produced strong and existing evidences including documents and witnesses that sound bases to satisfy the court on the issue. Asserting that they have presented strong and secular evidences, Jilani said that out of 34 witnesses who recorded their statements before the bench in the favour of ‘Babri Masjid’, 11 are Hindus, including Prof Suraj Bhan, Prof D Mandal, Dr Sita Ram Rai, Prof SC Srivastava, Prof RC Thakural, Dr Jaya Menon and Dr Ashok Dutta.

                According to Mr Jilani, a favourable judgment in favour of Muslims, of course, based on solid evidence, will only go a long way in proving that India is a big secular power. It will also send out a message that the religious rights and places of minorities are protected in this secular democracy.

                But considering the sensitivity of the issue, the Muslim community clerics are realising their duty towards the community and are trying to prepare them against all eventualities. They are all going out to reach out to their people and to condition them to be prepared for anything.

                On Alvida, the last Friday of the holy month of Ramzan, which fell this year on September 3, thousands of mosques offered special prayers for this.

                “Pray for winning the suit but show respect to court order on title case” is the fervent appeal of both the Muslim religious leaders and the politicians. Appeals to maintain peace at all cost are being repeatedly being issued to the community by the clerics, especially at Alvida Namaz.

                Addressing the congregation on Alvida, Shia cleric and Imam-e-Jumma Syed Kalbe Jawed, at the historic Asifi Imambara in Lucknow, said, “We will pray that the order goes in our favour but in case it does not we have the Supreme Court to appeal to. Under all situations we must respect the law of the land and maintain law and order.”

                At Teele Wali Masjid in Lucknow, Sunni cleric Maulana Shah Faza ur Rehman Waizi Nadvi also tried to appeal his followers by telling them that while they must hope and pray for the best, they must be prepared for the worst.

 By Kulsum Mustafa from Lucknow


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