Archive for October, 2010



How Allahabad HC exposed ‘experts’ espousing Masjid cause

NEW DELHI: The role played by “independent experts” — historians and archaeologists who appeared on behalf of the Waqf Board to support its claim — has come in for criticism by one of the Allahabad High Court judges in the Ayodhya verdict.

While the special bench of three judges unanimously dismissed objections raised by the experts to the presence of a temple, it was Justice Sudhir Agarwal who put their claims to extended judicial scrutiny.

Most of these experts deposed twice. Before the ASI excavations, they said there was no temple beneath the mosque and, after the site had been dug up, they claimed what was unearthed was a mosque or a stupa. During lengthy cross-examination spread over several pages and recorded by Justice Agarwal, the historians and experts were subjected to pointed queries about their expertise, background and basis for their opinions.

To the court’s astonishment, some who had written signed articles and issued pamphlets, found themselves withering under scrutiny and the judge said they were displaying an “ostrich-like attitude” to facts.

He also pointed out how the independent witnesses were all connected — one had done a PhD under the other, another had contributed an article to a book penned by a witness.

Some instances underlined by the judge are: Suvira Jaiswal deposed “whatever knowledge I gained with respect
to disputed site is based on newspaper reports or what others told” (other experts). She said she prepared a report on the Babri dispute “after reading newspaper reports and on basis of discussions with medieval history expert in my department.” Supriya Verma, another expert who challenged the ASI excavations, had not
read the ground penetration radar survey report that led the court to order an excavation. She did her PhD under another expert Shireen F Ratnagar.

Verma and Jaya Menon alleged that pillar bases at the excavated site had been planted but HC found they were not present at the time the actual excavation took place.

Archaeologist Shereen F Ratnagar has written the “introduction” to the book of another expert who deposed, Professor Mandal. She admitted she had no field experience.

“Normally, courts do not make adverse comments on the deposition of a witness and suffice it to consider whether it is credible or not, but we find it difficult to resist ourselves in this particular case considering the sensitivity and nature of dispute and also the reckless and irresponsible kind of statements…” the judge has noted.

He said opinions had been offered without making a proper investigation, research or study in the subject. The judge said he was “startled and puzzled” by contradictory statements. When expert witness Suraj Bhan deposed on the Babri mosque, the weight of his evidence was contradicted by anotherexpert for Muslim parties, Shirin Musavi, who told the court that Bhan “is an archaeologist and not an expert on medieval history”.

Justice Agarwal referred to signed statements issued by experts and noted that “instead of helping in making a cordial atmosphere it tends to create more complications, conflict and controversy.” He pointed out that experts carry weight with public opinion. “One cannot say that though I had made a statement but I am not responsible for its authenticity since it is not based on my study or research but what I have learnt from what others have uttered,” Justice Aggarwal has said, emphasising the need for thorough original research before concurring with what someone else has claimed.

Read more: How Allahabad HC exposed ‘experts’ espousing Masjid cause – The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/How-Allahabad-HC-exposed-experts-espousing-Masjid-cause/articleshow/6716643.cms#ixzz12Oz9OToI

RSS ideologue MG Vaidya calls for seperate Jammu, rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pundits, a union territory ladakh and an autonomous Kashmir

RSS ideologue MG Vaidya calls for seperate Jammu, rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pundits, a union territory ladakh and an autonomous Kashmir
Nirmal Pundey
Oct. 4, 2010
http://www.indiadaily.com/editorial/21744.asp

It may be the viable solution that will create fear and frustration in Pakistan. It will be a win win situation for all sides especially Indian pride, nationalism and international prestige.
The 88-year old RSS ideologue MG Vaidya has stirred up a hornet’s nest with a radical proposal to carve out a separate state of Kashmir and grant it pre-1953 levels of autonomy with a “Wazir-e-Azam” (prime minister) as the government head, with powers over all subjects except defense, currency, foreign affairs and telecommunications.
Vaidya says these are his personal suggestions aimed at a clean-slate debate to contain Kashmir’s rapid drift towards separatism. Nonetheless, his advocacy of autonomy to Kashmir, a separate state of Jammu and declaration of Ladakh as a union territory reflects thinking within the RSS leadership as he continues to be a part of its think tank.
He insists that he is not expressing the “official position” of the RSS. The BJP and RSS have in the past out-rightly rejected the very idea of trifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir that Vaidya is advocating.
Vaidya wants these ideas as a way forward in the troubled valley be discussed in a round-table conference, comprising all shades of opinion in the valley, to put in place a new framework that ensures that Kashmir remains an integral part of India and its people are not swayed away by the separatists. He says elements that seek merger with Pakistan should be kept out of such a consultation. Vaidya also suggests that the conference should also discuss the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the Election Commission over the new state as also appointment of IAS and IPS officers in the state. He wants the new state to rehabilitate all Kashmiri Pandits who were forced into exile by the militant insurgency in late eighties.
Explaining why the Centre should continue to have its governor in the state, his note says: “During the British regime, there were many princely states that enjoyed complete autonomy on internal matters. But a British Resident used to be there to look after the interests of the empire and the geographic unity and integrity of the state was not damaged. So will it happen in the case of the new state. Our governor, like the British Resident, will have to be vigilant about the whole nation’s interest.

Some Muslims open to moving mosque

Some Muslims open to moving mosque
The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Some-Muslims-open-to-moving-mosque/articleshow/6669107.cms#ixzz11BmIEaUK

MUMBAI: A day after the Allahabad high court verdict on the Ayodhya title suit, a section of Muslims have started looking at the option of taking their mosque away from the Ram Janmabhoomi site. Some prominent clerics, peace activists and Islamic scholars feel that by not appealing in the Supreme Court and paving the way for Ram temple in Ayodhya, Muslims will earn a great deal of Hindu and secular Indians’ goodwill. Significantly, the option is not un-Islamic.

“The Sunni Waqf Board and All India Muslim Personal Law Board should show a gesture and vacate the land the court has allotted them. It should not be seen as surrender,” said Islamic scholar Zeenat Shaukat Ali. Ali added that there are precedents in Muslim history where Muslims had showed generosity and given up their places of worship once they found that these were built on places of worship of other religions.

She further said, “In the 8th century, the Ummayid caliph Ummavi Waleed surrendered the land of a mosque to Christians which his predecessors had grabbed. In Ayodhya, even if Muslims believe, and even if the court has vindicated their stand that the Babri mosque was not built on razed temple, they should be practical and build a mosque away from the temple site.”

The fear of Muslims is that once they give up their claim on the Ayodhya land, Hindutva organisations might raise the issues of Mathura and Kashi. Leading Islamic scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan said this fear was removed once the Places of Worship Act 1993 was brought which says that the status quo of all the place of worship, except Ram Janmabhoomi- Babri Masjid, will be maintained as on August 15, 1947. Moreover, the Maulana maintained, several mosques have been relocated in countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

“It’s not in Quran and Hadith that once there’s a mosque, it’s always a mosque. It was later made part of Muslim belief by some fuqhas (Islamic jurists). Nobody is saying that Muslims should give up their claim on the mosque. They can relocate it,” said Khan.

Javed Anand of Muslims for Secular Democracy (MSD) argued that even if the SC endorsed the HC verdict and Muslims got their share in the disputed land, it was almost impossible that Muslims would ever be able to rebuild a mosque on the same site. “The best option is that they gift the land to the Hindus and set an example of magnanimity. It will open a new chapter of Hindu-Muslim unity,” said Anand.

Echoing this, Dongri-based businessman and president of Ekta Welfare Association Iqbal Memon Officer said a petition in the Supreme Court would only keep the issue boiling.