NEW DELHI: The Babri Masjid was destroyed by the “Hindu Taliban” just like the demolition of the Buddha statue by the Taliban at Bamiyan in Afghanistan, a litigant in the Ayodhya temple-mosque land dispute case told the Supreme Court on Friday.
No law or the Constitution allows destruction of religious structures of any faith, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for the legal heirs of M Siddiq — one of the original litigants in the case and has died, told a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer.
Dhavan also questioned the locus of the Shia Central Waqf Board in the case.
His comments came after the Shia board told the bench that it was willing to donate one-third of the disputed land, which the Allahabad High Court had given to the Muslims, to the Hindu group for “peace, harmony, unity and integrity” in this great country.
The counsel for the Shia Central Waqf Board said they were the claimants of the Muslim share of land at the disputed Ayodhya site, as the Babri Masjid was built by Mir Baki, a Shia Muslim. “It is a fundamental issue. The Shia Central Waqf Board has decided that for the unity, integrity, peace and harmony of the country, we want to donate the one-third part of land to the Hindu group,” the lawyer said.
Dhavan, who initially said he would not respond to innuendos, later countered the Shia board’s submissions and said it was way back in 1946 that the Babri Masjid was held to be a Sunni mosque.
“You cannot argue that this (demolition of mosque) was by some miscreants,” he said, adding, “What had happened in 1992? The Bamiyan statue was destroyed by the Taliban and this mosque was destroyed by Hindu Taliban. It cannot be done. It should not have been done. No one can do this”.
He argued that those who destroyed the mosque should be barred from making any claim since “no one has the right to destroy a mosque or any other religious structures.” “The simple argument is that the fact that a mosque is destroyed does not conclude the argument of right to prayer,” he said.
Dhavan said the Shia board’s argument that it wanted to donate a share of the land to the Hindu group was like “indulging in a non-existent act of charity”.
He also questioned the “intervention” of an Additional Solicitor General (ASG), who was appearing for Uttar Pradesh government, in the matter and said that arguments by the law officer were “uncalled” for.
On July 6, the UP government had told the apex court that some Muslim groups were trying to delay the hearing in the “long-pending” land dispute case by seeking reconsideration of an observation in the 1994 verdict in M Ismail Faruqui case that a mosque was not integral to Islam.
During the arguments on Friday, Dhavan said there was “no delay” on their part in the matter and the UP government was supposed to “remain neutral” in the dispute.