Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid – An opportunity missed by the Apex Court?

“Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid” is a phrase which has become synonymous and almost sounds like names of conjoined twins. Very rarely would you hear one being uttered to without the other being mentioned almost like a second name. There is nothing very brotherly about the 2 names though. For decades references to these 2 have rung alarm bells across the length and breadth of the nation. This subject has incited hatred, alarm, frustration and now even boredom across diaspora from the religious radicals to the well heeled urbanites.

This dispute dates back to 1885 and has weathered passage of many a generations and governments but continues to stand steadfast and unresolved. It has seen the oldest litigant (an octogenarian) passing away after endlessly waiting for resolution, if at all. The baton of claims and counter-claims over this tract of land has been passed from one generation to another without the finish line in sight.

The world also witnessed the stand-off take a bloody turn in 1992 with storming of the disputed site by VHP followers and destruction of the Babri Masjid structure. This of course had covert support from the then Congress central govt. which still boasts of deep secular credentials. The communal flare up that followed in Godhra and other pockets of the country would be hard to forget. It would be a waste of time to talk any more on the details of the dispute as it would not be unfair to presume that most readers know what’s transpired over the decades.

Ramjanmabhoomi

Coming to the resolution, multiple failed attempts have been made over the past few decades to work out a negotiated settlement. But neither of the chief warring factions (Babri Masjid Action Committee or the Vishwa Hindu Parishad) have shown any intent to blink. In the process, if there have been hard lessons learnt from this endless dispute it is these:

  1. This can only be done with intervention of the judiciary
  2. Any intervention and consequent settlement will leave scars and the entity intervening will get labeled as communal / secular depending on the stand taken
  3. There cannot be an amicable settlement on this subject
  4. There will never be a win-win solution on this one

The sooner this nation accepts this harsh reality, the resolution would creep closer.

The Supreme Court had been given an unenviable obligation to resolve this stalemate with both factions unwillingly relenting to abide by the verdict of the Apex court. As a matter of fact the world was looking at the SC to finally carry the cross and agree to be crucified. However, on 21st of March 2017 the Supreme Court rather than passing a verdict, made an appeal for amicable settlement. Personally it could not have been more shocking. By suggesting an out of court, mediated and amicable settlement to the litigants, has the apex court swept the issue under the carpet and sent the dispute back to where it stood 2 decades earlier or more? Did the bench really believe that this standoff can be resolved by the same people who are responsible for its incubation? In other words, “Is this an opportunity missed?”

It also inclines one to wonder if there really is a covert understanding between the perceived warring factions to keep the embers simmering given the political stakes it holds.

The writer vehemently refutes any suggestion that the apex court is party to this arrangement!!!

Wishing all stakeholders the very best for an AMICABLE SETTLEMENT.

-Sunil Agrawal

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