Opposition parties maintained a studied silence even as Muslim organisations apprehended that the move will “embolden the fascist attacks on minority rights”
Waquar Hasan | Clarion India
NEW DELHI – As Opposition parties maintained a studied silence, prominent Muslim organisations, including All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), expressed disappointment with the order passed by a Varanasi court in favour of Hindu women seeking permission to pray at the Gyanvapi mosque.
On Monday, the court rejected the petition of the mosque management committee which pointed out that Hindu women’s plea for the prayer in the mosque is not maintainable. However, the order has come under a lot of criticism from various corners.
In a statement on Monday, the AIMPLB said that the order is not just disappointing but also saddening.
“Those who want to serve hatred and who do not care about the unity of this country raised the issue of Gyanvapi Masjid in Varanasi and it is a pity that the district judge’s court ignored the 1991 law and allowed the petition,” said Khalid Saifullah Rahmani, general secretary of AIMBPL.
“Now, this sad phase has come where the court has initially accepted the claim of Hindu groups and has paved the way for them. It is a painful thing for the country and the people,” he added.
Underscoring the importance of the 1991 Worship act, Rahmani asked the government to implement it with full force.
“All the parties should be made bound to this law and a situation should not arise wherein the minorities get frustrated with the justice system and feel all the doors of justice are closed for them,” said Rahmani.
The mosque committee had approached the court arguing that the women’s plea was not maintainable as the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 mandated that the character of such places should remain as it was at Independence. The 1991 law made an exemption only for the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute.
Reacting to the judgment, Navaid Hamid, President of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, asked the Mosque Committee to immediately challenge the order in the higher court.
He pointed out that the court order is aimed at appeasing the Hindutva force which will open a pandora box of creating law and order problems in the years to come.
Hamid also said that the order shows that there is infiltration of people from the Sangh Parivar in the lower judiciary.
The Popular Front of India (PFI) said that the judgment, which ignores the 1991 worship act, will “embolden the fascist attacks on minority rights”.
“What the country needs now is a permanent end to this dangerous trend of a section of people making claims on other people’s religious places and properties. Unfortunately, the court has taken a short-sighted decision. By entertaining the litigation, it seems to have overlooked how communal fascists used the Babri Masjid case for decades to polarize Indian society leading to the killing of innocents and destruction throughout the country,” said O M A Salam, PFI Chairman.
“The present ruling will encourage attacks and false claims of similar fashion on minority places of worship in other parts of the country,” he added.
The group has extended its support to the struggles of the Masjid committee to protect the centuries-old Mosque against aggression and stood with its decision to challenge the order in the high court.