Modi and Sibal engage in war of words over Babri Masjid case

BJP and Congress yet again have engaged in a war of words and this time it is about the construction of Ram Mandir on the disputed site of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. The Supreme Court on 5 Dec heard the case of the disputed land of Babri Masjid and building the Ram Mandir there

The Congress leader who is supposedly representing the Sunni Waqf Board made an appeal to the court, seeking to postpone the hearing until the next Lok Sabha election due in 2019. On behalf of the Sunni Waqf Board, Kapil Sibal appealed to the court that the hearing be discarded until the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as the decision of the court will have a big impact in the country. It was in their election manifesto that they would construct a temple legally. If the hearing is done then the political future of the country will be affected. So far, all the paperwork has not been completed.

Attacking the Congress leader for making such an appeal in the court, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing the rallies in Gujarat on 6 Dec, alleged that it was because of the Congress that the verdict on building the Ram Temple was being delayed. Modi had said that “I have no objection that Kapil Sibal is fighting on behalf of the Muslim community, but how can he say do not find a solution to this (Ayodhya issue) until next election? How is it connected to Lok Sabha elections?”

Responding to the allegations of Narendra Modi, Kapil Sibal said that “it would have been good had our Prime Minister checked his facts and then given a statement. In his statement to the press, Congress leader and lawyer Kapil Sibal denied representing the Sunni Waqf Board for Babri Masjid case on 5 Dec. He  added that “I am saddened by the fact that our Prime Minister and Amit Shah who sometimes, out of misinformation, say such things. They have claimed that I was representing the Sunni Waqf Board on 5 Dec in the Supreme Court, but I think they are not aware that I never represented the Sunni Waqf Board.”

After Kapil Sibal gave this statement that he never represented the Waqf Board, it created an issue for political debate. Union Minister Ravishankar Prasad said that “whatever Kapil Sibal says as a lawyer is his business, but he must not forget that he has been a Minister of law.” He further added that “India’s legal system is very specific, you present your point of view and we give ours and the judge will decide. But him saying that this will have an impact outside is wrong.

Rajya Sabha MP, Subramanian Swamy also raised questions on the appeal of Sibal. He said that “they wanted it to postpone it after elections, what has this got to do with the elections?” He further added that making such demands on the basis that it will impact the results of the elections, then everything can be postponed according to the elections. “Tommorrow you will say Triple Talaq also must be postponed after the elections,” he added.

While the BJP leaders and the Congress leader Kapil Sibal are arguing whether he represented the Sunni Waqf board or not, the Muslim bodies are having two different opinions, about the appeal to postpone the verdict until 2019. While the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Waqf Board said that they were not in the favour of postponing the matter any further, nor were they happy and supporting the appeal of Kapil Sibal. Whereas the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) were supporting the appeal and said that the time was not right for the arguments to take place, hence the next hearing should be set after the general elections.

Zafar Farooqui, chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Waqf Board, in his statement to the press, said that “The board is of the view that hearing in the case be held and the matter be disposed of promptly… I do not know on whose behalf the counsel for the Muslims appearing in the apex court, Kapil Sibal had stated this… No such directive had been given by the board… Apparently, Sibal had appeared on behalf of one of the appellants in the Ayodhya case, Hasim Ansari’s son Iqbal Ansari.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also during his address, had thanked the Sunni Waqf Board for the strong decision and not supporting the demand of Kapil Sibal.
While on the other hand the AIMPLB, which is not a party to the case, the general secretary of AIMPLB Maulana Wali Rehmani said that “This is not the right time for holding the hearing in the case. If the next hearing is taken up, it will provide an opportunity to some people to take political mileage.”
Even after much debate and rounds of allegations, the Congress leader is adamant on his point that the Prime Minister had his facts wrong and he was not supporting the Sunni Waqf Board. He said that “We believe in the Lord, we don’t believe in you, Modiji. You are not going to build that temple, it will be done when God wants it. Please address the concerns of India. Don’t divide the people of our country like this. You may win perhaps in your mind, but you will lose badly and India will lose if you only care about yourself and not India. The PM did not check the fact that I never represented the Sunni Waqf Board. And yet he thanked Sunni Waqf Board for a statement on the basis that I represented them.”
While the BJP denied believing in the statement given by Kapil Sibal that he did not represent the Sunni Waqf Board. Even the Sunni Waqf Board chief Haji Mehboob asserted that “Yes, Kapil Sibal is our lawyer but he is also related to a political party. His statement in SC yesterday was wrong, we want a solution to the issue at the earliest.” He also added that every Hindu and Muslim in the country wanted a solution to the Babri Masjid issue as soon as possible.
BJP national spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia, on 7 Dec two day after the words of war began, with proof claimed that Congress leader and senior lawyer Kapil Sibal did indeed represent the Sunni Waqf Board in the Supreme Court in the Ayodhya dispute case. He added that the apex court’s order is a proof of that. “Supreme Court’s order of the day clearly states that Mr. Kapil Sibal represented the Sunni Waqf Board and therefore the truth is now out. This is nothing but misleading the country,” he said.