'Many people tell me I should give up the fight, but I don't listen to them.'
If you thought the long-drawn-out Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute has been given closure by the Supreme Court of India verdict of November 9, 2019, you could be wrong.
On Sunday, November 17, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board decided to file a review petition in the Supreme Court against its verdict awarding the disputed site in Ayodhya to the Hindu petitioners and granting a 5 acre plot at another site to the Muslim side. Joining the board in its decision was the Jamiat Ulema i Hind.
After its meeting in Lucknow on Sunday, the Jamiat said it was also against accepting the five acre alternative land given for a mosque as it 'will neither balance equity nor repair the damage caused' and claimed the verdict had several contradictions, reports Press Trust of India.
"We will assert our rights as given to us by the Constitution of India," lawyer Zafaryab Jilani, who is secretary of the AIMLPB, tells Syed Firdaus Ashraf/Rediff.com.
Why are you going in for a review petition?
The Supreme Court of India's judgment is self-contradictory and therefore we want to point it out by going in for a review petition in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janambhoomi case.
What kind of contradictions do you see in the verdict?
The Supreme Court passed the judgment in favour of plaintiff no 1 (Ram Lalla).
Now plaintiff no 1 is that idol which was placed under the dome of the Babri Masjid on the night of December 22-23, 1949. The high court and even the Supreme Court has said this idol was placed illegally under the dome of the Babri Masjid on December 22-23, 1949.
So we are saying this deity cannot be a deity according to Hindu law. How can you then pass a decree in favour of that deity?
The Supreme Court agrees that Muslims were praying in the Babri Masjid since 1857 and instead of giving a verdict in their favour the verdict has gone in favour of that deity which was kept in 1949.
Moreover, if this deity was placed under the dome of the mosque illegally in 1949, how can that same deity have the possession of that place before 1949?
Then the Supreme Court says that Hindus have been worshipping at that place for more than 300 years. But if you are praying individually it does not mean that you can occupy that place (mosque) as there was no idol in the first place.
But the Supreme Court also said in its judgment that pre-Islamic artefacts were found under the Babri Masjid site and this was based on Archaeological Survey of India findings.
It is not that way. The Supreme Court said that from the 12th century to the 16th century there was no puja done at that spot.
Although the judgment did not go in the Muslim community's favour, still there is peace prevalent in India. There has not been a single instance of communal disturbance.
Don't you think you should not go in for a review petition, as the case has been solved?
There is a peaceful atmosphere in India, but that doesn't mean you can take our masjids. If you take our masjids, how will we live in India?
Muslims would like to live in India with their masjids and we are not disturbing any peace in the country.
Will you not call peaceful the means of going to Supreme Court and filing a review petition?
We are trying to fight our case legally, so why should the peaceful atmosphere in our country be disturbed just because we are fighting our case legally?
But everyone, including all major political parties, has welcomed the judgment, why are you against it?
If you are saying everybody is welcoming the judgment, then why are Muslims not feeling that way?
The place from where you come (Mumbai), over there too Muslims are unhappy with the judgment. They had come for our meeting and Muslims of Mumbai too felt that a review petition must be filed in this case.
Some Muslims may be unhappy, but...
(Interrupts) Muslims feel there has to be a review petition filed in this case, and this case must be fought in the court as far as possible.
Don't you feel you are unnecessarily asking for a review of a matter that has been settled?
This can be your position, not mine.
We are fighting our case peacefully in the Supreme Court by filing a review petition.
Many people tell me I should give up the fight, but I don't listen to them as I am filing the review petition case which more than 90 percent of Muslims want me to.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has said it will not go after the Kashi and Mathura temples and that the Babri Masjid issue has been sorted forever. Why don't you reciprocate this sentiment?
The RSS lied to the court and they destroyed the Babri Masjid. I don't trust them.
Are you saying the Muslim community has been hurt after the judgment and do not wish to move on?
We are also moving on. We are running educational institutions and establishing educational institutions as permissible in law.
You cannot charge that we are not doing those things. I don't agree with you that the Muslim community must sit down and keep quiet, not assert our rights.
We will assert our rights as given to us by the Constitution of India.
Are you hopeful that this case will be re-opened for review by the Supreme Court?
The Supreme Court of India can decide in six months. We will approach them for our Constitutional rights.