Hyderabad: The Varanasi district courts order in the Gyanvapi case opens the door for endless litigation and it can be a repeat of the Babri Masjid case, pushing the country once again to the 1980s and 1990s, believes AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi.
The MP from Hyderabad is also of the view that the court’s order and resultant perpetual litigations could have a destabilising effect on the country.
Owaisi, who had expressed apprehension after the Supreme Court verdict in the Babri Masjid case that more issues will be raked up, feels that his worst fears are coming true.
Stating that with the the Gyanvapi case order, the very purpose of the 1991 Places of Worship Act will fail, the president of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) voiced the apprehension that now everyone will run to the court claiming that he was doing certain thing at a place of worship or was in possession before August 15, 1947.
“I believe this order will lead to many new conflicts in the country. Everyone will say we were doing this (ritual) before August 15, 1947 in the place of worship belonging to another faith,” he told IANS.
“How can such an order be passed when the Supreme Court clearly said in the Babri Masjid judgment that the 1991 Act will be part of the basic structure of the Constitution?” he asked.
The 1991 Act seals the religious character of all places of worship as it stood on August 15, 1947. It prohibits the change in the religious character of a place of worship. According to the Act, the religious character of a place of worship existing on August 15, 1947 shall continue to be the same as it existed on that day.
“The legislation was made so that such conflicts end forever but after this (Gyanvapi case) order it looks that litigation will start on all these matters. The aim was to see that past conflicts are put to an end. Now this perpetual litigation will continue. By allowing a litigation to continue, Babri Masjid can be repeated,” he said.
“What we had feared is unfolding in front of us. You may see more such cases being filed. Where will it end?”
Owaisi is of the view that in the light of the 1991 Act and the Supreme Court’s order in the Babri Masjid case, the court should have put an end to the conflict at the initial stage.
“We were hoping that the court would nip it in the bud but now it appears that if this litigation continues it will go on the path of the Babri Masjid case. It appears we are going back to the 1980s and 1990s. If we go back to that, this will create a destabilisation effect everywhere,” said Owaisi.
He recalled that the Babri Masjid verdict was pronounced on the basis of faith. The Supreme Court had made it clear that it will not re-open what had happened in the past and that was there on August 15, 1947, it will continue.
“Now after the court verdict in the Gyanvapi case, my apprehension is that tomorrow anyone can go and say we were doing such a thing at a place of worship or we were in possession of it. If this happens, there will be no end to it,” he said.
The MP argues that there is strong evidence and historical record to prove who is the owner of Gyanvapi mosque. He pointed out that a year ago when Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated expanded Kashi temple, two plots were exchanged from Muslims.
“Plots 93 and 94 were exchanged from Muslims for expansion. You exchange plots with the owner. There are registered documents as well.”
According to him, there are also title documents of 1883-84 which says plot number 9130 is in possession of Muslims and Masjid.
“There was a Wakf Gazette issued on February 26, 1942 showing it as a mosque. In 1936, there was a case Deen Mohammed versus the state. The judgment which came in 1937 said mosque, land under it, house to the north all are Wakf property,” he said.
Owaisi alleged that an attempt is being made to change the character of the place of worship in violation of 1991 Act. “Though the title is with you, I am saying I will sit inside for some time. Will it not change the nature of property?”
Ever since a court in Varanasi had ordered a videography survey of Gyanvapi mosque, Owaisi had been expressing the apprehension that another Babri Masjid would happen.
He believes that only strict adherence to the 1991 Act will prevent new disputes.
He had stated that the lower court’s order amounted to an attempt to change the nature and character of a place of worship which goes against 1991 Act.
“We are very apprehensive that another Babri Masjid will happen. Look at the chronology of the Babri Masjid issue. It started with chabutra, the idols were surreptitiously placed inside the mosque, then there was unlocking of gates, demolition of Babri Masjid, a makeshift temple was erected, permission was given to pray in the makeshift temple and ultimately Muslim side lost title suit in the Supreme Court. Not a single person was convicted in the criminal case (relating to demolition of Babri Masjid).
“I had opposed the Supreme Court judgment in the Babri Masjid case. I called it victory of faith over facts and voiced apprehension that it will open a can of worms as this will lead to new problems in Gyanvapi, Mathura Eidgah, Tele Wali Masjid Lucknow and Haji Ali dargah in Mumbai. Unfortunately, I have been proved right,” he added.