Indian Supreme Court’s questionable verdict on the Babri Mosque site

My interview on the Indian Supreme Court’s verdict on the Ayodhya site of the Babri Mosque, which was demolished in 1992 by a large group of Hindu activists of the right-wing Hindutva organizations.

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Nasir Khan: Indian Top Court Ruling on Holy Site Political Judgment

Nasir Khan: Indian Top Court Ruling on Holy Site Political Judgment

TEHRAN (FNA)- Nasir Khan, a historian and political activist, says the verdict by the Indian Supreme Court to give the land of the Babri mosque in the Northern town of Ayodhya falls short of a legal pronouncement.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with FNA, Nasir Khan said, “It was more of a political judgement, in which the difference between the perpetrators of a major crime and the aggrieved party was ignored completely and instead ordered thconstruction of a Hindu temple at the disputed site.”

Nasir Khan, PhD of Philosophy, is an author, historian and anti-war and human rights political activist. He has written numerous articles on human rights and international affairs.

Below is the full text of the interview:

Q: How do you find the verdict, especially amid many instances of sectarian violence?

A: From a historical point of view, many mythical heroes and gods were believed by people in the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece, Assyria, etc. But with the passage of time, Egyptians stopped believing in many gods such as Osiris, Isis and the divine child Horus, among many others. In Greece the same thing happened: The old Olympian gods and heroes were replaced by other gods and mythologies. But in India ancient mythical stories continued to exist, and are still regarded as part of Hinduism by the followers of this religion. The Hindus who destroyed the Babri mosque believed in the myth of the birthplace of Rama. This brief account is essential to understand the mythical account of the life of god Rama that were tacitly accepted and supported by the Supreme Court in its verdict.

The verdict falls short of a legal pronouncement, based upon a judicious investigation of the evidence involved about the land where the mosque stood. It was more of a political judgement, in which the difference between the perpetrators of a major crime and the aggrieved party was ignored completely and instead ordered the construction of a Hindu temple at the disputed site. The court asked the central government to prepare a scheme within three months to enforce the order for the construction of the temple! The Muslims were to be given a five acres of land in Ayodhya, as if the dispute was merely one about the possession of a disputed piece of land. In this way, the goals of the Hindutva government of Modi and the Hindu extremists were given an endorsement by this unjust and lopsided judgement. It is amazing that the court did not mention or condemn the wanton destruction of the 500-year old mosque in the summary of the verdict.

The question of sectarian violence after this verdict should also be seen in a broader context of Indian political system, where the Hindutva forces wield the cudgel. The Modi government had made sure that the internet was not freely available to areas where Muslims could protest or raise their voices. Indian Muslims are acutely aware of their vulnerability in case of any opposition to this verdict. The fear of attacks by the militant Hindus is not something they can ignore. They know how over two thousand Muslims were massacred by the Hindu mobs.

Q: Do you believe justice was served by the verdict?

A: Modi bears much responsibility for the communal violence in India when he was the chief minister of Gujarat. In 2002, there was a mass bloodbath in his state in which more than two thousand Muslims were killed, their women raped and their properties pillaged by the Hindu mobs when a train carrying Hindu pilgrims caught fire in which 58 people died. Without any evidence, Modi accused Pakistan of causing the fire. Within hours of his provocation, the killing of Muslims started in his state. The way the Hindu mobs molested and raped Muslim women is too painful for me to repeat here.

Modi has shown his political base is his militant right-wing parties and followers who want to change India into a Hindu rashtra. How to do this is part of the political strategy of Hindutva which he follows. The first major step he took on 5 August was to colonize the 8-million Kashmiri Muslims by isolating them in a total blockade by the most savage means.

In India, it is the Hindutva that reigns supreme, and Modi is their leader. The Indian judicial system is not immune against the prevailing political situation and policies of the Modi government. The verdict of the Supreme Court has left no doubt in the minds of political observers that the highest court of the land has furthered the anti-Muslim communal policies of the present government.

Q: Islam is the second largest religion in India, with approximately 200 million Muslims. Why do Indian Muslims struggle to retrain their religious rights?

A: The causes of the social, economic and political condition of Indian Muslims in a predominately Hindu India are many. The British rulers of India had their own colonial interests. When the Indian freedom movement gained momentum after the First World War, the British rulers found themselves in a precarious situation in face of the growing demands of freedom, which was mostly led by the Indian National Congress. When the Muslim League under the leadership of M.A. Jinnah made his Two-Nation Theory a basis for establishing a Muslim state, Pakistan, that finally resulted in 1947 in the partition of India into India and Pakistan, the Muslims who lived in India suffered most. Most Hindus never forgave Muslims for the partition of India. As a result, the Indian Muslims have been suspect in the eyes of Hindus, and over the years their political and economic condition became weak. The upsurge of militant Hindutva nationalism in India and the goals of Hindu rashtra regard Muslims as their main enemies. So, the Indian Muslims live in that anti-Muslim environment and are subject to many social and political pressures as unwanted people in India.

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