'I am perplexed and disturbed'
As India’s Supreme Court put an end to the centuries-old Ayodhya Ram Temple-Babri Mosque dispute case on November 9, by giving the disputed land to Hindus, retired Judge Justice Ashok Kumar Ganguly expressed his discontent with the apex court's decision and said the minorities have been "wronged."
"I am perplexed and disturbed. The constitution gives the right to everyone and justice has to be given to everyone but in this case the justice has not been done to minorities," Ganguly said while speaking to Hindustan Times.
Ganguly, who retired from the apex court in 2012, added, "This is undeniable and it is also undeniable that the mosque was demolished by sheer act of vandalism. Even the Supreme Court has in its verdict said that it is a gross violation of rule of law and act of vandalism. In that scenario the question is that who has been wronged. It is the minorities that have been wronged."
Raising questions on the verdict that has been given Ganguly asked, "The court has found that mosque has not been built by demolishing a temple. No archaeological evidence of temple under the mosque was found and the demolition of mosque is a gross violation of constitutional provisions. Now on what basis have they said that it is widely believed by the Hindus that the owner of the land is Ram Lalla?"
"My conscience is disturbed as a student of constitution. The Supreme Court is bound to protect the rights of the citizens including the minorities. Where does my right go?," Ganguly further asked.
In its verdict on Saturday, the Supreme Court called the mosque's demolition illegal but handed the plot of land to Hindus, who believe the site is the birthplace of Lord Ram, a much venerated god-king. The court directed that another plot in Ayodhya be provided to a Muslim group that contested the case.
In over a dozen interviews, Muslim community leaders, businessmen, and students said they respected the verdict but it exacerbated their sense of alienation.
"Why did the court then give a ruling which is completely one-sided? Was the court under pressure? We don't know. We can't trust anyone now. No door is open for us," said local Muslim community leader Azam Quadri during evening prayers in Ayodhya.
In 1992, Hindu mobs destroyed the 16th-century Babri Mosque on the site, triggering riots in which about 2,000 people, most of them Muslims, were killed.