Senior lawyer Zafaryab Jilani’s comments in the Supreme Court yesterday (25 September) seem to have triggered a lot of confusion, excitement and bewilderment depending on where one stands on in the Ram Temple case.
Appearing on behalf of the Muslim side, Jilani admitted that "we do not dispute the Hindus' belief that chabutra is the birthplace of Lord Ram” and the same has been in possession of Hindus since 1886. This has been misreported in the mainstream media as the Muslim side accepting Ram Chabutra as the birthplace which is simply not true. The Muslim side has merely decided not to contest this claim.
Jilani said as much when he told the bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer. He said that Sunni Waqf Board does not accept that Ram Chabutra is the birthplace of Ram.
"Our stance is that it is their belief and we are not taking any steps in that regard after an observation to that effect by a District Judge (in 1886),” he submitted.
Despite such crystal clear stance taken by Jilani in the court, the media has reported exactly the opposite. This puts the media in the dock and exposes its severe lack of ability and competence to report on legal cases without resorting to sensationalism. This is nothing but fake news. Period.
In fact, the Muslim side would be more than happy to concede that the Ram Chabutra is indeed the birthplace of Bhagwan Ram. But the reason for not doing so openly may be because the Sunni Waqf Board doesn’t want to lose credibility with the Muslim masses. However, accepting chabutra as the birthplace only bolsters their case.
Look at this line map below to understand why:
As one can see, in the 2.77 acre of disputed land, both Ram Chabutra and Sita Rasoi are outside of the inner courtyard of Babri Masjid structure. The Ram Lalla idol is currently placed at the site where dome of Babri Masjid once stood.
No wonder that Jilani and the Sunni Waqf Board have no problem in conceding the claim of Hindus that chabutra is the birthplace rather than the central dome of erstwhile Babri mosque. As he submitted to the court, “there is no evidence whatsoever that the place below the central dome of the demolished Babri Masjid is Lord Ram's birthplace”.
So, not only the Muslim side has no problem in accepting Ayodhya as Lord Ram’s birthplace but they can even concede that Ram Chabutra is the exact janmasthan. Because it doesn’t affect their claim that the land where Babri Masjid stood should be given to them.
The Muslim side wants to establish that the dispute over Babri Masjid as exact birthplace is a recent claim by Hindus because Ram Lalla’s idol was placed inside the mosque only in 1949.
Thus, all the hullabaloo over Jilani’s misreported comments translate to nothing. The Muslim side has not “accepted” the claim of Ram Chabutra as the birthplace. Even if it did, it is irrelevant for Hindus as far as the title suit is concerned.
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