Ayodhya verdict: Mixed reaction from Indian Americans
The Indian American community was divided over the Allahabad high court's verdict in the Ayodhya title suit on Thursday, wiht Hindus expressing hope and Muslims expressing disappointment.
The Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh United States Inc said in a statement that it was hopeful that the judgment, which it welcomed, will advance the construction of a Hindu temple as the verdict clears the legal obstacles to the construction of a proper temple at the birthplace of Lord Ram.
"Hindus in the US earnestly hope that this is the beginning of a new era for Hindu-Muslim relations in India," said Ved Nanda, president of the HSS.
Reportage: Suman Guha Mozumder in New York
'We respectfully disagree with the court's decision'
However, on behalf of the Hindu American community of the US, Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America expressed limited satisfaction with the verdict.
"While the majority of the court has agreed with the Hindu viewpoint on Sri Ram Janmabhoomi, we respectfully disagree with the high court's decision to allocate 1/3rd of the land to the Sunni Waqf Board. VHPA sees such a decision as inconsistent with the fundamental principles of justice and contrary to the corollary flowing out of high court's own considered determination that the disputed land is Bhagwan Sri Ram's birthplace to begin with and the mosque was built over a razed-down pre-existing grand Hindu temple," it said.
'We reaffirm our faith in the Indian judiciary'
The American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin, while congratulating the people of India for maintaining peace and calm on the day of the Ayodhya verdict, expressed disappointment with the decision of the court which it said 'appears to ignore historical facts and mixed mythology with verifiable history.'
'The organisation observes with grave concern the apprehensions raised by several legal luminaries about the future of justice in India. AFMI believes that justice has not been served in this case and has instead set a dangerous legal precedent. However, we reaffirm our faith in the Indian judiciary and hope that the eventual decision of the apex court will deliver justice,' it said in a statement. It also expressed hope that all parties to the dispute continue to maintain peace and not resort to any activity which would lead towards public disorder.
Kaleem Kawaja, president of the Association of Indian Muslims of America, told this correspondent that the court judgment is a very flawed one that has completely ignored the facts of history and basic logic.
'It is not only illogical but also irrational'
In their arguments in the last 60 years, none of the Hindu community litigants including Hindu religious organisations ever presented any basis in legend or folklore or religious scriptures that could link the three acre parcel of land, where the Babri mosque once stood, with the place of birth of Lord Ram. All they ever claimed was that it was a matter of their faith and that faith does not need to be substantiated," he said.
"It would have been much better if the high court had stayed away from addressing this vexing question and instead made a judgment on the legal claims of the Muslim and Hindu litigants to the site," he said.
'It would have been fair to divide the site equally'
He also mentioned that the court has erred in saying, without giving any supporting information, that since the mosque stood on a site near some ancient ruins, it was not a mosque.
"In a dispute as ambiguous and contentious as this one, it would have been fair to divide the said site equally between the Hindus and Muslims, instead of awarding the Hindu groups twice as much land as to the Muslim groups," Kawaja said.
However, he said Indian Muslims have solid faith in the nation's judiciary which has often upheld the secular ethos of the nation and protected the minorities from injustice. "Thus they are very disappointed at this very flawed judgment of the high court. In the interest of the larger good of the Muslim community and the Indian nation, our association representing a large number of Indian-American Muslims, appeals to the Muslims of India to not get into confrontation with anyone, to put this issue behind them, and to focus their energies on building their community and the Indian nation for a better tomorrow," he said in a statement.