In a new twist in Ayodhya title dispute being heard in the Supreme Court, the Muslim parties on Wednesday said that Ramkot Fort could be the possible birthplace of Lord Ram. Zafaryab Jilani, senior advocate appearing for the Sunni Waqf Board, citied a 1862 report to support his claims.
The statement has been made two days after senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, representing Muslim parties, accepted Ram Chabutra as the birthplace of Lord Ram in front of the five-judge bench.
Judges, however, confront Jilani with the gazeteers of the pertinent time. While Justice Ashok Bhushan said the Britishers divided the place into the inner and outer courtyard, Justice DY Chandrachud pointed out all these official reports referred to the site in Ayodhya as the birthplace.
Justice SA Bobde asked Jilani whether Hindus tried to worship inside the boundary before 1855, after the mosque was built. To this, the lawyer said that it was not the case. In 1865, Hindus started worshiping on the outer part of the land i.e Ram Chabutra.
But the first person who entered inside the disputed structure in 1858 was a Sikh. He entered and waved the flag. On this, Justice Bobde remarked that Sikhs also believe in Lord Ram as he has been mentioned in Sikh scripture.
Jilani said that there is no document to prove that Babri Masjid is the birthplace of Lord Ram. One of the judges said Carnegie and two other documents put everything in perspective. Before 1855 or the historical event of the Sepoy mutiny in 1857, Hindus and Muslims prayed inside the mosque. The fence was built post-1857.
The judges also asked questions to Geelani about some gadgeteers of that time. Justice DY Chandrachud said that the official report at that time mentions the birthplace of Lord Ram in Ayodhya.
A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi is conducting the hearing on the vexed dispute. The other judges of the bench are SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer.
The day-to-day hearings in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case began in the Supreme Court on August 7 with the Nirmohi Akhara, a Hindu religious denomination, claiming Muslims had not prayed at the disputed site in Ayodhya since 1934.
The Allahabad High Court, in its judgment of 2010 on four civil lawsuits, had partitioned the 2.77-acre disputed land equally among Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla. Fourteen appeals have been filed in the Supreme Court against the verdict.
The top court has set October 18 as deadline for completion of all arguments in the protracted land title dispute, a move that has raised the possibility of a verdict in the politically sensitive case in the middle of November.