Ayodhya Case: Mosque Built on Temple Ruins Not Valid Under Shariat, Says Ram Lalla Virajman Counsel
Babri Masjid. (File Photo: IANS)

New Delhi, August 14: On the sixth day of hearing in the Ayodhya case, the Ram Lalla Virajman counsel claimed there is enough archaeological evidence to establish that the mosque was built on temple ruins, and if it is so, then Sharia law would not recognize the structure as a mosque. Senior advocate C.S. Vaidyanathan, the counsel representing deity Ram Lalla Virajman, informed the court that the basis of his claim originated from various travelogues and sketches prepared by foreign travelers where a distinct image of a place revered by Hindus, for its immemorial divinity, has been identified in Ayodhya.

He pointed out that the travelogues of foreigners such as Joseph Tiefenthaler (early 18th century Jesuit missionary), Montgomery Martin (both British surveyors) and English merchant William Finch and others, establish historical evidence of people having faith in Lord Ram at a particular site in Ayodhya. These foreigners were never under any compulsion to lie, he said. Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi Land Dispute: Supreme Court to Take up Mediation Panel's Report on Ayodhya Case Tomorrow.

"If a mosque is built on the ruins of a temple, it cannot be a valid mosque", Vaidyanathan argued, stating it is against the Muslim belief.

He cited a travelogue written by English merchant William Finch, (1608 - 1611), who during his visit in India, documented how Hindus believed Ram was born in Ayodhya, and that there was also a fort. "Finch's travelogue published in the book 'Early Travels to India', documents Hindus believed Ayodhya was the birthplace of Lord Ram, he told the court.

Vaidyanathan claimed that a joint possession of the site is not possible. "Faith cannot be dissected, bisected or trisected. The continuity of faith and belief shows despite other religious influences, the faith of Hindus continued, and it is established by continuity in the pilgrimage", he argued.

Justice S.A. Bobde, one of the judges on the Constitution bench, posed a query for senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for a Muslim party, seeking information on the conflict between Shias & Sunnis over the disputed site. Dhavan replied that dispute does not affect the present proceedings. Vaidyanathan said in a suit filed in 1945 Shia Waqf Board admitted this is a temple land.

Vaidyanathan, to strengthen his arguments, cited the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) reports, which claimed there is evidence of a temple under the Babri Masjid structure. The ASI submitted its 574-page report on the matter in 2003 to the Allahabad High Court. He also cited A.E. Cunningham's report, who conducted the first survey in Ayodhya in 1862-63 to support his arguments.

During the arguments, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, another judge on the bench, said, "It seems to be a very fluid situation in Ayodhya. There is the presence of Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism & Islam." Vaidyanathan replied, all these religions had an influence, but Hinduism always got revived. What never changed, however, was the unbreakable faith of people in the Ramjnmabhoomi.

"In fact, Hinduism did assimilate principles of Buddhism and Jainism as well", he told the bench. Vaidyanathan cited the Allahabad judgement which clearly indicated that there is no issue that the site is the birthplace of Lord Ram, and a mosque was built on it. "All historical material shows divinity in the place of birth is true. There are also images of Lord Shiva, Lord Krishna and Lord Hanuman, and these images can be seen on the pillars. There are total 14 'Kasuati' pillars," he told the court.

During the first half of the hearing today, the bench asked Vaidyanathan: "When was it first called Babri Masjid?". He replied that it was brought onto public imagination in the 19th century and not before, and that there isn't any document to prove it either. On this, the bench asked: "What about Baburnama (memoirs of Mughal ruler Babur), or is it totally silent on this?".

Vaidyanathan replied 'Baburnama' is silent on this. Then the bench queried: "What is the objective evidence available on record that Babur directed the temple demolition?". He replied that Babur had directed his general to demolish the structure. Dhavan, objecting to Vaidyanathan's submission, said 'Baburnama' mentions Babur crossing a river to Ayodhya and that two pages of his stay are missing.

Vaidyanathan said there were two versions on the destruction of the temple -- one by Babur and the other demolition by Mughal ruler Aurangzeb, but the inscription on a plank in the mosque indicates Babur constructed the three dome structures at the disputed site.

Vaidyanathan also cited excerpts from Hans Baker book on Ayodhya. He further cemented his arguments, stating that the ASI excavated and discovered a massive fortification wall at the site that may be as old as 3rd century BC. Vaidyanathan has continuously argued for two days before the Constitution bench, and he is most likely to continue his arguments on Friday. The apex court has taken a special initiative to conduct day-to-day hearing on the Ayodhya dispute, as the Chief Justice is scheduled to retire in mid-November.

Against the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict, nearly 14 appeals have been filed in the top court. The High Court through its judgement, in four civil suits, partitioned the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya equally among the three parties -- the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla. On December 6, 1992, the Babri Masjid structure was demolished.