Parties joust over Ayodhya verdict

Gloves were off on the Ayodhya verdict with Congress and Left parties saying the Allahabad HC verdict was in no way a justification of the "criminal act" of Babri Masjid demolition and the BJP hitting back.

New Delhi: Gloves were off on the Ayodhya
verdict with Congress and Left parties saying the Allahabad
High Court verdict was in no way a justification of the
"criminal act" of Babri Masjid demolition and the BJP hitting
back saying there was no need for "edification".

Keeping aside the restraint of the last few days,
parties indulged in a joust on the court verdict, which the
Left parties felt placed faith above law.
Non-BJP parties accused "communal forces" of
trying to exploit the verdict which they said would be
detrimental to larger national interest and harm the desire
for peace and harmony.

Meanwhile, efforts for an out-of-court settlement of
the issue received a setback with the Sunni Central Wakf
Board, a litigant in the case, has decided to challenge the
Lucknow Bench`s verdict in the Supreme Court.

"It is important to underline that the verdict in no
no way condones the demolition of the Babri Masjid on Dec 6,
1992 which was a shameful and criminal act for which the
perpetrators must be brought to justice," said the Congress
after a meeting of the party`s Working Committee here.

In a balancing act, the party said it respected the
judicial process with regard to the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri
Masjid title suit and that the final decision of the Supreme
Court has to be awaited whenever the appeal is filed.

In the meantime, a statement issued by the party
citing the "consensus" in the meeting said, the party would
welcome efforts by the parties concerned with the litigation
to find an amicable and peaceful settlement.

The Congress also warned that any distortion of the
verdict by communal forces would be detrimental to the larger
national interest and cause harm to the nation`s mood and
desire for peace and harmony.
Joining the war of words, Union Minister Kapil Sibal
attacked BJP veteran L K Advani for his remarks that he feels
"vindicated" about his `rath yatra` in the wake of the Ayodhya
verdict saying it exposed his "short-sightedness" as the
matter is yet to be heard by the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court could either affirm the verdict of the
High Court or set it aside, he noted.

"However, what is happening today is that some
political parties are taking this to be the final verdict and
therefore making public statements, things they should not be
saying. We do not know finally what is going to happen," Sibal

"If Advani believes the verdict will be affirmed in
its entirety by the Supreme Court, then obviously being a
matured politician I can`t possibly say that years of
experience has put him in good stead".

Reacting to all the criticism aimed at his party,
BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad raising of the demolition
issue again and again was unfortunate and there was no no need
to give "edifications".
"It has been said several times that a procedure
(demolition case) is separately going for December 6
(incident). This is a legal action," he said.

Prasad also rejected criticism of the court
judgement that it placed faith above law and said if one went
through the judgement one would realise that it was based on
the basis of testimony and settled principles of law.

Sibal said Advani`s statement was "not only jumping
the gun" but also showed a sense of "short-sightedness" of
the leader.

He said he also did not subscribe to Advani`s
assertion that the verdict has cleared the way for
construction of a grand temple at Ayodhya. It was too
"premature" to make such a statement.

Sources said there was unease among some sections in
the Congress with some empathising with the Muslim community
in which there is said to disquiet on the verdict and in other
sections over the possibility of BJP trying to cash on the
sentiments of Hindu polarisation.
The CPI(M), which concluded its two-day meeting of
the Politburo, said the Ayodhya verdict will set a "dangerous
precedent" as it was based on faith and belief and hoped that
the Supreme Court will address the issue on appeal.

"There are apprehensions that some of the reasoning
set out in the (title deed suit) judgements may be taken as a
post-fact justification for the demolition," which was a
criminal offence, party General Secretary Prakash Karat told

The CPI(M) leader said the cases pertaining to the
demolition of the Masjid have to be "seriously pursued".

He also did not not see the possibility of
out-of-court settlement of the saying most of the parties have
decided to move the Supreme Court whose verdict will be final.

Another Left party, CPI, also held that the High
Court verdict was based on "faith and religious belief" which
raised questions on rule of law and principles of secular

The BJP hit back attacking the Congress saying for
linking the Court verdict with the demolition issue.

"At this stage, it is a High Court which has come on a
bunch of civil suits based on certain issues. And, to that
extent, we respect what has come in the judgement.

"At this stage, to time and again link it with the
demolition of the Babri Masjid....I don`t think there is any
need," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitaraman told reporters.

She said the criminal case was a matter of sub-judice
and there was no no point in linking that with the verdict.

Wakf Board Chairman Zafar Ahmad Farooqui said in
Lucknow that at an emergency meeting held it was decided to
challenge the High Court`s verdict in the Supreme Court.

"On the basis of the legal advise from experts, it was
decided to challenge the verdict in the apex court," he said.

Farooqui also said no no person has been authorised by
the Board to explore possibilities of an out-of-court

Board`s counsel Zafaryab Gilani said he would be ready
to approach the Supreme Court in the last days of October or
the early days of November. He said he was studying the
judgement and there were "several grounds" on which the
verdict could be challenged in the apex court.