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Ayodhya Verdict: Mixed response from Indian Muslims

Friday, October 01, 2010 07:10:49 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: A day after a court ruled in favour of a Ram temple at the site of the razed Babri mosque in Ayodhya, many Muslims across India were clearly unhappy. Others felt it was time to move on.

As millions went into the details of the epoch-making three-judge bench verdict from the Allahabad High Court, some Muslims insisted that they had not got justice.

Muslim leaders who had championed the reconstruction of Ayodhya's 16th century Babri mosque, razed by Hindu mobs in 1992, were a disappointed lot -- having spent time and energy on the cause.

But many among the 140-million strong community felt the time had come to bury past bitterness, a line also advocated by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), which has pledged to build a grand Ram temple on the ruins of the Babri Masjid.

In the latter category was Mohammed Hashim Ansari, a 90-year-old Ayodhya Muslim who has waged legal battles since 1961 over the disputed land where the mosque once stood.

The dispute was "now a closed chapter", he said at his crumbling home in Ayodhya. "Hindus should be allowed to build their temple."

He does not want Muslims to approach the Supreme Court challenging the Thursday verdict that split up the disputed land into three -- two-thirds going to Hindus and a third to the Sunni Wakf Board.

In New Delhi, Mahmood Madani of the influential All India Muslim Personal Law Board said Muslims did not expect "such a mixed verdict".

"It could have been a clearer judgment," Madani told IANS, adding that lawyers were studying the intricacies of the 9,000 odd-page judgment.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind secretary Maulana Ahmed Niyaz Farooqi said: "We would consider the decision of approaching the Supreme Court only if the lawyers of the Wakf board think it would help."

The Wakf Board is determined to fight on.

"We expected the verdict in our favour. It is tilted towards one party which is not fair," its lawyer Zafaryab Jilani told IANS. "We will go for appeal. There is no second thought. We are studying the judgment."

In Uttar Pradesh, where the Lucknow bench gave the Thursday ruling amid nationwide fears of a violent backlash, some Muslims argued that the court verdict must be accepted.

Wahab Ansari, a retired teacher, said in Aminabad area: "There's no point in going to the Supreme Court... it will only add to the uncertainty. We should take the verdict sportingly and make every effort to promote peace and communal harmony."

Engineering student Nisar Ahmad agreed.

"Everyone should realise that the outcome of the dispute in any sense would not be a solution to problems like illiteracy, poverty. It should be better we bury the dispute."

The Karnataka Muslim Muttahida Mahaz, a federation of 28 Muslim groups, said it was now up to the AIMPLB to decide the future course of action but reconciliation should be explored.

Congress legislator from Bangalore R. Roshan Baig asked everyone to respect the court. But tea vendor Usman Farooq in Bangalore felt Muslims had been let down.

Opinion was divided in Maharashtra too.

"I would appeal to all my Muslim brothers to accept the verdict and not disrupt the peace and harmony of the nation. I would also request them to not challenge the verdict," said Hyder Azam, president of the Maharashtra Minority Morcha.

But Muslim leader Abdul Rahman Anjari felt differently. He said there was no question of having a temple on the Babri mosque land. "Once a place has a mosque, it has to be there forever."

Atiq Khan, a young radio professional, termed the verdict "fair enough" and said it has "taken care of the long pending issue".

Samajwadi Party leader Abu Asim Azmi said the row should go to the Supreme Court.

"We shall continue to have faith in the judiciary, and are hopeful that we shall not be disappointed by the apex court," he said.

In Kerala, Indian Union Muslim League chief Panakkad Syed Hyderali Shihab Thangal asked people to show mutual respect.


"All should respect the verdict and it must be seen as a part of the judicial process," he said.






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