Temple built on ruins of Babri masjid a symbol of injustice, a blot on India’s judiciary, say Indian Americans
Despite acknowledging the absence of evidence supporting the temple demolition and recognizing the destruction of the Masjid as a criminal act, the Supreme Court awarded the site to Hindus, prioritizing faith over the rule of law.
Washington, D.C. (Jan 19, 2024) –The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), a staunch advocate for India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, today issued a statement on the upcoming consecration ceremony of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, scheduled for January 22. This temple, built atop the ruins of the Babri Masjid, demolished by Hindu zealots, is not just a celebration but a glaring symbol of historical injustice.
India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is orchestrating a grand spectacle, hosting over 6,000 guests. Simultaneously, Hindu far-right groups have planned car rallies, events, and parades across the United States, marking a distressing extension of this divisive celebration.
The Ram Temple, standing on the remnants of the historic Babri Mosque, symbolizes the injustice inflicted by both the state and the judiciary upon Indian Muslims in particular and global Muslims in general.
“We denounce this grandiose celebration of the temple built upon the ruins of the Babri Masjid. This event is not just a consecration but a glaring endorsement of the impunity enjoyed by those who orchestrated the demolition and a betrayal of the principles of justice. It is also a stark reminder of the failure of the Indian judiciary to deliver justice to Muslims and uphold democratic and secular values of the constitution,” said IAMC President Mohammed Jawad.
IAMC Executive Director Rasheed Ahmed said: “The recent widespread festivities in the United States are concerning. The celebration of Ram temple consecration and glorification of Babri masjid demolition on a global scale is a blatant endorsement of religious intolerance.”
On December 6, 1992, the historic mosque was demolished by a mob of over 150,000 Hindu extremists, including the members and leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The aftermath saw large-scale riots throughout the country, leading to the deaths of thousands, predominantly Muslims. Almost three decades later, the Supreme Court of India, in November 2019, unjustly handed over the site to Hindus to build a temple, effectively legitimizing one of the most criminal acts against a Muslim place of worship in independent India’s history.
In its judgment, the court, while denying the popular Hindu far-right claim that Babri mosque was built after demolishing the temple, said: “The ASI report has left unanswered a critical part of the remit which was made to it, namely, a determination of whether a Hindu temple had been demolished to pave way for the construction of the mosque. A determination of title was not obviously within the remit of ASI”
The court also termed the demolition of Babri mosque a “calculated act.”
“During the pendency of the suits, the entire structure of the mosque was brought down in a calculated act of destroying a place of public worship. Muslims have been wrongly deprived of a mosque which was constructed over 450 years ago,” said the order of the then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, and Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer.
Former Supreme Court justice A.K. Ganguly called the judgement “flawed” and said if he was a judge on this case, he would have “directed the restoration of the mosque. ”
“Now the Supreme Court says that underneath the mosque there was some structure. But there are no facts to show that the structure was a temple. The Supreme Court’s verdict says they don’t have evidence to say that a temple was demolished and a mosque was built. There could have been any structure below – a Buddhist stupa, a Jain structure, a church. But it may not have been a temple. So on what basis did the Supreme Court find that the land belongs to Hindus or to Ram Lalla?” Ganguly asked.
India’s eminent academic and legal scholar noted that the court’s judgement relied more on “the mystery of the faith over rule of law.”
In November 2020, a special court in India acquitted 32 accused, including senior RSS and BJP leaders including Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti, of criminal conspiracy to demolish Babri mosque. The acquittal denied justice to over 200 million Indian Muslims and set a dangerous precedent.
This shocking verdict not only disregarded Supreme Court orders but also overlooked the findings of the Liberhan Commission, which was set up by the government of India in 1992 to probe the demolition of the mosque and had concluded that the demolition was meticulously planned.
The Commission had said the mobilization of the cadres of RSS, Bajrang Dal, BJP and Shiv Sena in Ayodhya was neither “spontaneous or voluntary” but “orchestrated and planned.” The Commission in its report named over 60 people and held them “culpable” for “leading the country to the brink of communal discord.”
The subsequent failure of the Indian judiciary has emboldened attacks on other mosques and shrines, especially in Mathura and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
IAMC urges the international community to scrutinize these developments and question the rise of Hindu fundamentalism, the erosion of democracy, the decline of judiciary, the soaring human rights and religious freedom violations, and advocate for a country where diversity is celebrated, not targeted and annihilated. IAMC will persist in its fight for a just and inclusive India, where every citizen is treated with dignity and equality, regardless of their faith.