(Photo: AFP)

Lucknow: The controversy over sacking of senior Supreme Court lawyer Rajeev Dhavan, who was to take up the Ayodhya review petition of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, and his replacement with a junior advocate, Ezaz Maqbool, has created a charged atmosphere among the stakeholders.

While the decision of some petitioners to file a review petition in the Ayodhya case has already heightened tension among a section of both communities, the sacking of Rajeev Dhavan by the JuH has added fuel to fire.

Dhavan, who has represented the Muslim petitioners in the Ayodhya Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case since 1993, posted on Facebook Tuesday that he had been sacked by the JuH on a false pretext of his illness.

Dhavan also announced on FB that he will not be involved in the review petition or the case anymore. The other petitioners, including the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, however, insisted that Dhavan will continue to be their counsel in the SC review petition.

The development provided fodder to a section of politicians and hardliners whose controversial statements have added to the already charged atmosphere in the state, especially in Ayodhya, ahead of the Babri mosque demolition anniversary.

Waseem Rizvi, President of UP Shia Waqf Board who had been supporting the Ram Temple on the controversial land since BJP government came to power in Uttar Pradesh and had even criticised the parties which have decided to file review petition, claimed, “Dhavan is a big lawyer and charges hefty fees.

The petitioners would have removed him after funds from Pakistan dried up. The financial condition of Pakistan is very bad.” Rizvi also questioned the rationale behind the review petition.

"The petitioners know that they won't win but they are filing petitions to sow the seeds of hate."  Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders, too, joined the bandwagon.

The outfit’s spokesperson Vinod Bansal said, “Mughals had chopped off the hands of workers who built Taj Mahal; so, whatever has happened to Dhavan is not a big deal.

‘Jo Hindu Ram Ka Nahi, woh Janmbhoomi ke kaam ka nahi, woh Musalman ka kaise ho sakta hai? Instead of a junior lawyer replacing him, the Bar Council of India should have sacked Dhavan for his repeated misconduct in the apex court.”

Bansal alleged that Muslim petitioners were only misleading the country and instigating the community through their review petitions, even though they were aware that would lose the case again. 

Ram Vilas Vedanti claimed that Congress was behind these review petitions. Hindutva outfits led by Vishwa Hindu Parishad celebrate December 6 as Shaurya Diwas (day of valour) while some Muslim groups mark this as “black day”.

As the controversial sacking gained traction, the administration has doubled up security in Ayodhya, where orders for enforcement of section 144 are effective to December 10.

An official added that Section 144, which bars more than four people from assembling in public place, is imposed in Ayodhya around December 6 every year to maintain law and order.

Free Press Journal