ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Saturday while expressing its deep concern over the decision of Indian Supreme Court regarding the historic Babri Masjid , said the verdict had shredded the veneer of the so-called secularism of India.

The Indian Supreme Court in a unanimous verdict on Saturday cleared the way for the construction of Ram Temple at the Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya, and directed the BJP government to allot a 5-acre plot to the Sunni Waqf Board for building a mosque. In one of the most important and most anticipated judgements in India’s history, a 5-judge constitutional bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi put an end to the more than a century old dispute that has torn the social fabric of the nation.

While reacting to the ruling in a statement issued in Islamabad, the Foreign Office spokesman said “This decision has shredded the veneer of the so-called secularism of India by making clear that minorities in India are no longer safe; they have to fear for their beliefs and for their places of worship.”

He said the decision had once again failed to uphold the demands of justice. He said as the United Nations had recently noted that Indian Supreme Court’s response to human rights petitions in the context of Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir was slow, this decision pointed out that when it acted, it was unable to protect the interests of India’s minorities.

“A process of rewriting history is underway in India in order to recast it in the image of a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ in pursuance of the Hindutva ideology. It is also fast affecting India’s major institutions,” he viewed.

The spokesman said the rising tide of extremist ideology in India, based on the belief of Hindu supremacy and exclusion, was a threat to regional peace and stability.

He urged the Indian government to ensure the protection of Muslims, their lives, rights and properties and avoid being yet again a silent spectator of Muslims becoming the victims of Hindu extremists and zealots.

The FO spokesman said the international community, the United Nations and other human rights organisations in particular should play their role by restraining India from its pursuit of an extremist ideology and to ensure equal rights and protection of the minorities in India.

FM OBJECTS TO TIMING OF AYODHYA VERDICT

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday objected to the timing of the Ayodhya verdict, which coincides with the inauguration of the Kartarpur corridor, saying he was “deeply saddened” at the “insensitivity” shown at such a joyous occasion.

“Could it (verdict) not have waited a few days? I am deeply saddened at the insensitivity shown at such a joyous occasion,” Qureshi was quoted as saying by a private TV channel.

“You should have taken part in this happy occasion and not attempted to divert attention. The dispute is a sensitive issue and should not have been made part of this happy day,” he said.

The foreign minister said that Muslims are “already under a lot of pressure in India and this decision of the Indian court will further increase pressure on them”.

INDIAN SC GIVES SITE TO HINDUS

In the unanimous verdict, the Indian Supreme Court said that a report by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) provided evidence that the remains of a building “that was not Islamic” was beneath the structure of the demolished Babri mosque.

The court said that, given all the evidence presented, it had determined that the disputed land should be given to Hindus for a temple to Lord Ram, while Muslims would be given land elsewhere to construct a mosque.

It then directed the federal government to set up a trust to manage and oversee the construction of the temple. However, the court added that the demolition of the Babri mosque was against the rule of law.

Despite warnings by authorities not to celebrate the verdict, BBC correspondents in court say they heard chants of “Jai Shree Ram” (Hail Lord Ram) outside as the judgement was pronounced.

“It’s a very balanced judgement and it is a victory for people of India,” a lawyer for one of the Hindu parties told reporters soon after.

Initially, a representative for the Muslim litigants said they were not satisfied and would decide whether to ask for a review after they had read the whole judgement. However, the main group of litigants has now said that it will not appeal against the verdict.

Outside the court, the situation has been largely calm.

Hundreds of people were detained in Ayodhya on Friday ahead of the verdict, amid fears of violence. Thousands of police officers have also been deployed in the city, while shops and colleges have been shut until Monday.

The government issued an order banning the publication of images of the destruction of the Babri mosque. Social media platforms are being monitored for inflammatory content, with police even replying to tweets and asking users to delete them.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reacted to the verdict on Twitter and said that it should not be seen as a “win or loss for anybody”.

The verdict showed “judicial craftsmanship and statesmanship where the letter of the law was adhered to, but the relief was moulded, taking into account the ground realities,” lawyer Sanjay Hegde said. The judges appear to have gone by the evidence laid before it. “They have applied a plaster. Let’s not reopen the wounds,” Mr Hegde added.

Many Hindus believe the Babri Masjid was actually constructed on the ruins of a Hindu temple that was demolished by Muslim invaders in the 16th Century.

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.

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.

Ever since the Narendra Modi-led Hindu nationalist BJP first came to power in 2014, India has seen deepening social and religious divisions.

The call for the construction of a Hindu temple in Ayodhya has grown particularly loud, and has mostly come from MPs, ministers and leaders from the BJP since it took office.

Restrictions on the sale and slaughter of cows - considered a holy animal by the majority Hindus - have led to vigilante killings of a number of people, most of them Muslims who were transporting cattle.

Most recently, the country’s home minister Amit Shah said he would remove “illegal migrants” - understood to be Muslim - from the country through a government scheme that was used recently in the north-eastern state of Assam.

 

 

Babri Masjid ruling shreds veneer of Indian secularism: FO