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“No Mosque is safe in India”


News Analysis |

“No mosque in this country is safe and can be demolished like Babri Masjid if the view that mosques are not an integral part of Islam and Muslims can pray anywhere is upheld”,  senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan argued in the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid case before the Supreme Court on Friday. His statements can be used as an indicator of the repression faced by Indian Muslims.

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Dhavan appears for Mohammed Siddiqui, the main petitioner in the title suit. “There is fear that if the argument that mosques are not essential part of worship is upheld, what happened to Babri Masjid might happen to any mosque in the country,” Dhavan argued.

He added, if the government wants, in national interest, they can acquire the land but till then it remains a place of worship for Muslims. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra is deciding if the Ayodhya title suit should be referred to a larger Constitution bench. This was after Dhawan referred to a five-judge bench decision in a 1994 Ayodhya land acquisition case that mosques are not integral part of Islam.

We know what Indians do in the open. It sounds like how people in India go to bathroom.

-Dhavan

“Yes. That comment will have a huge bearing in the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit” Dhavan said after which the bench said first it will hear arguments on whether the case should be referred to a larger Constitution bench.

“That judgment said a mosque is not an essential part of the practice of the religion of Islam and Namaz by Muslims can be offered anywhere, even in open. We know what Indians do in the open. It sounds like how people in India go to bathroom,” Dhavan said.

The SC is hearing cross-appeals against the 2010 Allahabad High Court ruling that the 2.77-acre land of Ayodhya be divided into three parts, with one-third going to Ram Lalla, represented by Hindu Mahasabha; a third to Sunni Waqf Board; and the remaining to Hindu religious denomination Nirmohi Akhara.

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Rajeev  Dhavan’s plight for the persecuted Muslims is synonymous with those of  several other influential individuals. Former Indian President Hamid Ansari in his final speech highlighted that Muslims in India felt unsafe. Several prominent Indian Muslims like film actor Amir Khan have time and again highlighted the injustices faced by local Muslims.

The forceful conversion of non-Hindus including Muslims, known as Ghar Wapsi, has become a celebrated norm of Hindutva groups. Ghar Wapsi which translates into “returning home “is a widespread campaign that often employs force and threats to coerce hapless non Hindus into the fold of Hinduism. They justify such oppression with the rhetoric that Islam and Christianity are “outside” religions and non-Hindus are children of misguided folk who must be brought back to the fold.

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Muslims are a favored target due to their helplessness in India. Since the rise of the BJP, many Muslims have lost their lives at the hands of Saffron terrorists. They are also at the receiving end of much hostile legislation such as the ban on beef consumption.

India’s descent into brutal mob attacks under the BJP government has disturbed many. Majority of the victims belong to minorities that exhibits religio-political machinations. For the last 30 months, a climate of fear and insecurity is created by repeated, deliberate, divisive and provocative statements. Empowered Hindutva fundamentalists are seeking to impose a single uniform ethic in diverse domains such as food, dress, culture or thinking.

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Many also point out to other measures being taken by the Hindutva network to propagate an anti-Muslim rhetoric. Recently, Zee TV which is considered to be close to Hindutva groups has started a drama serial called “Ishq Subhan Allah” which shows the traditional Muslims as misogynists and in need of reform.  This is representative of the dominant media narrative that devout Muslims are bad for India.

The lynching of minorities in north India received nothing but silence from the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Hindutva fundamentalist party that rules all the northern states except Punjab and Delhi. In fact, there has been a conscious attempt to divorce Islam and Muslims from the national ethos. Dhavan’s recent statements highlights the threat to the Indian Muslim community.