Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Muslim leaders respond to interim judgment on Gyanvapi Mosque, say courts appear biased, systems compromised

Prominent Muslim leaders express their deep regret and concern over the abrupt initiation of puja in southern cellar of Gayanvapi mosque, marked by the overnight breaking of iron grills and placement of idols.

“The swift initiation of this action, despite the court granting a seven-day window for the administration to make necessary arrangements, raises questions about apparent collusion between the administration and the plaintiff, attempting to foreclose any effort by the Mosque Managing Committee to pursue remedies against the District Court order,” read a joint statement by Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani, President, All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Maulana Syed Arshad Madani, President, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, Maulana Asghar Ali Imam Mehdi, Ameer, Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith Hind, Maulana Syed Mahmood Asa’d Madani, President, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, Mr. Malik Mohtashim Khan, Naib Amir, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Asaduddin Owaisi, MP and President of All India Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen, Maulana Mufti Mukarram Ahmed, Shahi Imam, Fatehpuri Masjid, S. Q. R. Ilyas, Spokesperson & Member of the Working Committee, AIMPLB and Kamal Farooqui, Member of the Working Committee, AIMPLB.

“We express deep surprise and disappointment at the judgment rendered by the Varanasi District Judge. In our perspective, this decision seems to rely on a highly incorrect and unfounded argument, asserting that the family of Somnath Vyas used to worship in the basement of the Gyan Vapi Masjid until 1993, and it was closed on state government’s orders. Moreover, on January24, the same court handed over the custody of the basement to the district administration,” the statement added.

The leaders said: “It is imperative to clarify that no pooja was ever conducted in this basement. The District Judge’s decision, based on an absurd and baseless claim, is highly questionable, especially given its timing on the last day of his service. Equally concerning is the unilateral disclosure of the archaeological survey report by the Hindu side to the press, causing turmoil in society. Importantly, this report is currently merely a claim, as it has not been discussed or confirmed in the court.”

The statement further read: “Apart from this, the expeditious execution of the district court’s order by the administration was evidently aimed at undermining the right of the mosque party to seek immediate relief from the High Court. Likewise, we believe that the district court should have afforded the mosque party an opportunity to appeal, as it is its legal right.”

According to Muslim leaders, the issue extends beyond the Gyan Vapi Masjid; baseless claims are persistently made on places of worship like the Shahi Eidgah of Mathura, the Sunheri Masjid Delhi along with numerous mosques and waqf properties across the country.

“This trend of unwarranted claims on various places of worship raises serious concerns. The continued silence on the Place of Worship Act 1991 by the Supreme Court has become a source of deep worry for the Muslim community in the country,” it said.

“In a democratic system, the courts serve as the last resort for justice. The recent comments of Hon’ble Supreme Court Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave about the judiciary becoming a “majoritarian judiciary” and that the judiciary is remaining silent while several transgressions of law are taking place at the instance of the Executive’’ are deeply concerning. If the courts appear biased, it raises fundamental questions about where justice can be found,” the leaders said.

“The profound commentary from a senior lawyer on the judicial system of the country signals a potentially disastrous future. Numerous court decisions seem to align with the sentiments expressed by this distinguished lawyer, reflecting the concerns of minorities and oppressed classes in the country,” the statement noted.

“This matter goes beyond preserving the dignity of the courts; it is also about safeguarding minority communities and marginalised sections from feelings deprived and frustrated. We believe that this time the dignity of the country and the impartiality of the judicial system and administrative affairs have been grossly compromised. It is the prime responsibility of all constitutional officials to take timely notice of it,” the statement further said.

“In this critical hour, As representatives of Indian Muslims, we have requested time to communicate these concerns to the President of India, who holds the highest office in the country. We hope that, at her level, she can take steps to address these issues. Additionally, we intend to convey the sentiments of the Muslim community to the Chief Justice of India in a respectful and appropriate manner. . We hope that they can use their influence to address this situation and protect the principles of justice and equality that underpin our democratic nation,” the statement concluded.

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