Mosque on temple ruins: No Shariat ok

New Delhi: 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 Shariat 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 travellers 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.

"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.

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 the dispute does not affect the present proceedings. Vaidyanathan said in a suit filed in 1945 the Shia Waqf Board had 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.

"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.

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