Judicial extremism at its peak

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HARDLINERS among India’s majority Hindus, including supporters of Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), are celebrating the Indian Supreme Court judgement in Ayodhya mosque case as the site has been given for building of a Hindu temple but Muslims as well as minorities in India are mourning the verdict as they have lost hopes of getting justice in a country that claimed to be secular. The verdict based on racial prejudice and bigotry is the worst example of judicial extremism as legitimate and evidence-based claims of Muslims have been thrown into the dustbin for the sake of appeasing extremists in the ranks of majority.
The historic mosque, widely known as Babri Masjid, was built in 1528 during the reign of the first Mughal emperor Zaheer-ud-Din Muhammad Babur in today’s Ayodhya in the central Indian State of Uttar Pradesh (UP) and there was no claim of any Hindu deity having been born at the site. In the 1980s, as Hindu nationalism and the BJP began to strengthen, pressure grew for the mosque to be knocked down and replaced by a glorious Hindu temple and that exactly happened in 1992, when a Hindu mob estimated to number 200,000 stormed the historic building, reducing the mosque to rubble. Muslims have since been trying to win back their right through a legal battle but the outcome of the long drawn case has poured water on their hopes of getting justice in Hindu-dominated India. In its reaction, Pakistan Foreign Office has rightly pointed out that the decision has shredded the veneer of so-called secularism of India by making clear that minorities in India are no longer safe; they have to fear for their beliefs and for their places of worship. This was expected during rule of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is also known as butcher of Gujarat and who recently robbed Muslims of Kashmir of their fundamental rights. But the two cases of illegal annexation of Jammu and Kashmir and building of Ram Temple at the site of historic Babri mosque have exposed the real face of the Indian judiciary. Indian SC is already unduly sitting over Kashmir annexation case, giving time to Modi government to settle the issue through military and administrative means. There seems to be no urgency to hear the case or force the Government to stop trampling of human rights in the occupied Kashmir. The timing of the verdict was also surprising as it coincided with the opening of Kartarpur border between India and Pakistan to facilitate Sikh pilgrims to visit their places of worship. The striking contrast sends a clear message to the world as to who is the real extremist.