Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB)’s secretary Zafaryab Jilani reiterated the Board’s position that a Babri Masjid was illegally demolished and that it will always remain as mosque.
Speaking to Outlook, Jilani, who was the convener of Babri Masjid Action Committee, said that the Board has been unhappy with the verdict because the Supreme Court has categorically held that the Babri Masjid was illegally demolished. “In 1994, SC said that the demolition was a shameful act for the country,” he said.
The Muslim community has accepted the verdict going by the law of the land, he said. “The SC, rightly or wrongly, has given a decree in favor of this idol. The SC hasn’t given an answer to the query that how illegally placed idol became a deity?” he asked.
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“The Supreme Court and high courts also said that historically it cannot be proved that it’s the birth place of Lord Ram,” Jilani added.
Ahead of the ceremony, social media was abuzz with AIMPLB’s tweet citing Hagia Sophia as an “inspiration”.
The tweet read: “Babri Masjid was and will always be a Masjid. Hagia Sophia is a great example for us. Usurpation of the land by an unjust, oppressive, shameful, and majority appeasing judgment can't change its status”.
However, Jilani refused to comment on its comparison with Hagia Sophia.
In its November 9 verdict, the five-judge Constitution Bench of Supreme Court ruled that the entire 2.77 acres of disputed land should be handed over to the deity Ram Lalla. The Court had also directed the Centre to allot a five-acre plot to the Sunni Waqf Board in Ayodhya to build a mosque.
Jilani further said that though the Supreme Court admitted that the idols were placed illegally, the final verdict in favour of the idol baffled the Muslim community. The AIMPLB had also filed a review petition against the judgment, though it was dismissed by the court.
“The SC had admitted that the idols were illegally placed against the Constitution. But then the SC has given the verdict in favour of the idol. We were very surprised and filed a review petition. But the SC was not ready for a hearing in the review petition and it was dismissed. So we respected the verdict,” he said.
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Jilani also said that the Prime Minister leading religious proceedings in his official capacity was against the spirit of the Constitution.
“I am opposed to the government being involved in the ceremony. It is against the Constitution of India. Attending the ceremony is a different matter. But this is being shown as Prime minister and Chief Minister’s function. That’s wrong,” he said.
The AIMPLB secretary also asserted that he is not surprised by the open endorsement of the construction of the Ram temple by many Congress leaders.
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“Congress supported opening up of the locks during their regime. The placing of the idol was done under Congress's government. It was the creation of them. I am not denying the fact that there are secular people also in the Congress,” he said.
“We go by the Constitution of India. It gives equal rights to all its citizens,” he added.