Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Public Meeting on Ayodhya Judgment

The judgment on the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid Land Title Suit, was delivered by the Allahabad High Court on 30 September 2010. It may be recalled that on 6 December 1992, Babri Masjid – a 500-year-old structure that stood on the disputed site at Ayodhya – was violently destroyed by a political movement in the name of Hindu faith and belief, in open defiance of the law of the land. The judgment thus, has far-reaching consequences for the Indian polity, its secular and democratic fabric, rule of law and good governance.

By raising our voices and airing our views, concerned citizens are accused of attempting to destroy the fragile peace. We are convinced that this is yet another attempt to bury justice at the altar of peace.

The supporters of the judgment, including diverse ruling parties in New Delhi, the states and organizations affiliated to the Hindu right, are gloating on justice having been done and “a window of opportunity for peace and reconciliation”.

On the other hand, many concerned citizens have expressed their disappointment at the judgment and deep concern for its larger ramifications. To name a few: Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, while referring to the judgment, said: “This is panchayati justice which takes away the legal rights of Muslims and converts the moral sentimental entitlements of Hindus into legal rights.” Dr. John Dayal, Secretary General of All India Christian Council and a human rights defender, termed the judgment as “patently based on populist and political sensitivities, rather than on points of law.” Romila Thapar, an eminent historian, has categorically stated that we cannot change the past to justify the politics of the present. Siddharth Varadarajan, a senior journalist, has expressed the view that if left unamended by the Supreme Court, the legal, social and political repercussions of the judgment are likely to be extremely damaging.

All India Secular Forum’s Mumbai chapter proposes to organize a public meeting on the issue on 12th October 2010. All India Secular Forum (AISF) is a loose network of concerned groups and individuals working on secularism, human rights, equality, justice, peace and communal harmony.

The event aims at comprehending the contents and consequences of this judgment, and at deepening our collective understanding of the same. The event seeks to address the legal, political, historic and social aspects of the judgment and its ramifications through an eminent panel of speakers, that include Dr. Asgarali Engineer, Dr. Ram Puniyani, Ms. Pushpa Bhave, Adv. Mihir Desai, Justice H. Suresh amongst others. After the deliberations and discussions among the speakers and the participants, the meeting will end with an action plan for the near future. We look forward to your presence and active participation in this event.

In solidarity,

Saumya Uma, Lynne Henry, Akram Khan and Neha Dabhade
Convening Committee – Mumbai
All India Secular Forum

Venue: Bhupesh Gupta Bhavan,
85 Sayani Road, Near Siddhivinayak Temple,
Opp Shaman Ford, Prabhadevi,
Mumbai - 400025

Schedule

Contextualizing the Judgment: opening remarks
Historical background of the conflict
Legal content and implications of the judgment
Future action
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