HYDERABAD: As the news of a Varanasi local court ordering the sealing off a part of the Gyanvapi masjid spread fast on social media platforms on Monday, following unconfirmed reports of a ‘Shivling’ being discovered there, Asaduddin Owaisi, AIMIM president and Lok Sabha member from Hyderabad, felt the Gyanvapi issue could well be a redux of the Ram Janmabhoomi- Babri Masjid issue.
"This issue will be used to steer India back into the late 1980s and to create an atmosphere that surfaced after the demolition of the Babri masjid," said Mr Owaisi.
Speaking exclusively to Deccan Chronicle on the developments on the issue, Owaisi said, "We, as a nation, are not learning the lessons from what happened in the 80s and in the phase post demolition of the Babri masjid."
Reacting strongly, he said, "No sane Indian wants the country to go back into a period that existed post the Babri masjid demolition. It happened with the-then Congress government, which was completely blinded, allowing all this to happen. The same thing is being done by the Bharatiya Janata Party now. It is a classic textbook case being used to take away another masjid from the Muslim commuity."
Owaisi said the country was weakening the rule of law with its own hands and that people were being deceived.
Referring to the Places of Worship (special provisions) Act, 1991, he said that the Varanasi court’s decision went against the Supreme Court verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi- Babri Masjid title suit, where the apex court made it clear that the Act reflected the commitment of India to the equality of all religions.
It was the solemn duty cast upon the State to protect sites of all faiths as an essential of duties to protect the country’s Constitution, he said.
As per the Supreme Court, the law speaks to both the history and future of the nation, and historical wrongs cannot be remedied by people taking law into their own hands, Owaisi said.
Owaisi, referring to Mughal emperor Aurangzeb's connection to the Gyanvapi issue, said "is Aurangzeb responsible for current day unemployment, high prices of petrol and diesel, and growing inflation? Why don’t you go back in time and fight with Aurangzeb about these? Why are people being penalized now? Why is the country being sent back in time?"
He said that the lower court completely ignored and disregarded the intent of the Parliament, which had enacted the law in 1991, and the SC judgement, which holds the 1991 Act is a basic tenet and feature of our Constitution, which cannot be changed or tampered with.
"Now the Muslim side is saying it is not a ‘Shivling’ but instead what was found is a fountain. Where was the urgency to seal the place, when the SC is hearing the matter tomorrow? What was the urgency to do so even before a final report is submitted to the court," he said.
He added, "these very kind of events took place when the locks at Babri Masjid were opened and the Muslim side was not given the order. At that time, there were no computers (or fast media dissemination like today). A 30-page order was handed over and locks were opened. Later, the judge who passed the order, in his book, had said that he had a ‘divine intervention’ because he saw a monkey sitting on the wall of his court."
Owaisi said that when Babri masjid was demolished, he had said that the event will open many controversies in future.
"Though the SC judgement had said that no mandir was demolished by any Mughal ruler, the Babri Masjid suit was handed over to the Hindus based on their ‘Astha (faith)’ and belief. What would have been the court’s judgement had the structure not been demolished on December 6?" he said.
When asked to comment on where the issue was now likely headed, Owaisi said, "as I had said after the Babri masjid title suit was awarded, there will be other claims, on the Srirangapatnam-Jama masjid, now the Qutub Minar is being called a mandir, and some are saying the Taj Mahal is not a Taj Mahal. There are more than 50,000 masjids, which are being falsely claimed as not being masjids as per a list of the RSS and the BJP."
"It is very convenient to rake up such issues and play with people’s emotions," he added.