Gyanvapi Mosque: Some Considerations
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Category : LEGAL DESK
Author : Aura Staff
Now comes the real test: will Indian society allow history to repeat, or can there be a clear will to understand and put an end to this possibly destructive pattern of planting seeds of doubt and fanning the flames of hatred against Muslim citizens in the name of evoking their alleged forefathers and painting images of ‘invasions’?
a petition by five women to offer prayers at the structure, to now, the production of ‘evidence’ and the subsequent sealing off, the process seems to be moving rapidly. This is happening in the backdrop of many such similar processes of alleged re-claiming – from the Qutub Minar, the Taj Mahal petition to re-open 22 rooms, to the slowly creeping encroachment on the Char Minar. Now comes the real test: will Indian society allow history to repeat, or can there be a clear will to understand and put an end to this possibly destructive pattern of planting seeds of doubt and fanning the flames of hatred against Muslim citizens in the name of evoking their alleged forefathers and painting images of ‘invasions’? Muslim citizens in India are facing challenges at multiple levels; from bulldozer politics as ‘punishment’ to the increasing insecurity in the form of rumour-mongering which in turn can lead to mob violence – love jihad, cow lynchings and population growth are old bogies, but new ones are cropping up at every turn.

The Places of Worship Act, 1991 has effectively frozen conversion/re-conversion of any place of worship after 15th August, 1947, a judgement effectively upheld in the Ayodhya judgement. The purpose was to not only check communal hatred but also to put an end to any possible explorations and conflicts arising from claims and counter-claims. But as is well known by now, mere laws and acts have ceased to inspire respect or control from those elements of Indian society who cheer on bulldozers even after the Supreme Court’s stay or lock out hijabi Muslim girls from schools where even the Karnataka HC’s judgement on hijab did not apply. The judiciary is the last wall standing in the defense of the Indian Constitution today. Despite all its shortcomings, which even the Chief Justice NV Ramana has acknowledged in his speech at the foundation stone ceremony for the new High Court complex in Srinagar, the judiciary still functions according to the supreme legal text of the country rather than by the whims and fancies of powerful politicians or by mob-frenzy. Even in the Gyanvapi case, ‘results’ of the otherwise confidential survey in the District Court have been illegally made public and taken cognizance of by the Varanasi court. This is a serious cause for concern, and the Court’s judgement to bar entry to the area and seal it off is in complete contravention of judicial precedent.

The follow-up to such events is always the demand for ‘peace’ and ‘tranquillity’ from minority communities. As has often been said, the commitment to peace cannot erase the demand for justice. Lessons from history must be learnt, rather than repeated.

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