Muslim Law Board to file review petition on Ayodhya Verdict
MUMBAI, Nov 17: An Indian Muslim group said on Sunday it would file a petition in the Supreme Court asking for a review of a ruling that awarded a disputed site in Uttar Pradesh to Hindus, allowing them to build a temple there.
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board, an umbrella body of intellectuals and organizations, said it would seek a review of the judgment, which rejected Muslim claims over the land.
India's Supreme Court ruled on Nov. 9 that a 2.77 acre (1.1 hectare) plot of land should be awarded to Hindus, who believe it is the birthplace of Lord Ram, a physical incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu.
"There are apparent errors in the Supreme Court judgment, and we felt that it would be prudent to file a review petition," Syed Qasim Ilyas, a member of the group, told a press briefing.
The main Muslim litigant in the case, the Sunni Wakf Board, has declined to file a review, saying it respected the verdict.
The site, where in 1528 a mosque was built by an associate of the Mughal emperor Babur, has been the center of a bitter dispute between India's majority Hindus and Muslims, who make up about 14% of the population, since Indian independence.
In 1992, a Hindu mob razed the mosque to the ground, leading to riots in several parts of India. At the centre of the row is the 16th Century mosque that was demolished by Hindu mobs in 1992, sparking riots that killed nearly 2,000 people.
Many Hindus believe that the Babri Masjid was constructed on the ruins of a Hindu temple that was demolished by Muslim invaders. Muslims say they offered prayers at the mosque until December 1949 when some Hindus placed an idol of Ram in the mosque and began to worship the idols.
Over the decades since, the two religious groups have gone to court many times over who should control the site. Since then, there have been calls to build a temple on the spot where the mosque once stood.
Hinduism is India's majority religion and is thought to be more than 4,000 years old. India's first Islamic dynasty was established in the early 13th Century. The long and complicated property dispute has been dragging on in various courts for more than a century.
This particular case is being fought between three main parties - two Hindu groups and the Muslim Waqf Board, which is responsible for the maintenance of Islamic properties in India.
The Hindu litigants are the Hindu Mahasabha, a right-wing political party, and the Nirmohi Akhara, which is a sect of Hindu monks.They filed a title dispute in the Allahabad High Court in 2002, a decade after the mosque was demolished.
A verdict in that case was pronounced in September 2010 - it determined that the 2.77 acres of the disputed land would be divided equally into three parts.
The court ruled that the site should be split, with the Muslim community getting control of a third, Hindus another third and the Nirmohi Akhara sect the remainder. Control of the main disputed section, where the mosque once stood, was given to Hindus.
The judgement also made three key observations. It affirmed the disputed spot was the birthplace of Lord Ram, that the Babri Masjid was built after the demolition of a Hindu temple, and that the mosque was not built in accordance with the tenets of Islam.
The Supreme Court suspended this ruling in 2011 after both Hindu and Muslim groups appealed against it. Schools and colleges in the area have been closed and all roads leading to the site have been blocked by police. Government departments say they have also made preparations to deal with any violence. -REUTERS