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Buddhist body lays claim to the disputed Ayodhya site

NITISH K. SINGH  New Delhi | 16th Jan 2011

Babri Mosque: The Buddha Education Foundation says the disputed land belongs to Buddhists.

he Buddha Education Foundation has filed a Special Leave Petition against the Ayodhya-Babri Masjid verdict given by the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court on 30 September 2010. In its petition, the BEF says that the real claimants of the disputed land in Ayodhya are Buddhists and the followers of Dr B.R. Ambedkar.

The petition says that the disputed site of Ayodhya as well as the construction that existed before the Babri mosque belonged to a "Bauddh Vihar". It claims that an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) report has proved that the circular shrine is a Buddhist stupa and Hindus and Nirmohi Akhara have trespassed on the land. The petition says, "The fact remains that the disputed structure is either a Buddhist or rose over the ancient Grand Buddhist Structure as centre of Dhamma activities by demolishing it during and after the Muslim invasion in recent history of India. The High Court has considered the claim of Hindus on the basis of bald faith. It has also asserted the rights of Muslims and Nirmohi Akhara on the doctrine of possession but the High Court have grossly failed to uphold that the property in question bears the very sign of the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha and the Culture of Buddha Dhamma."The petition has said that the judgement opposes the Indian Constitution, the rule of law, the principles of natural justice and public policy as it is based on faith, religious texts, doctrines, religious fantasy and arrogance.

BEF chairman Udit Raj told this newspaper, "The high court has wrongly given the land to the Hindus, the Muslims and the Nirmohi Akhara. Facts indicate that Buddhists and Ambedkarites are the real claimants to this land. We have urged the Supreme Court to decide the matter on the basis of the Constitution and the rule of law. If that happens, this communal dispute will be settled forever." Raj says that they are basing their claim on the ASI report of 2003 and the Patrick Carnegie report of 1870. Carnegie, a British archaeologist, was the officiating commissioner and settlement officer of Faizabad district, where Ayodhya is located. "According to Carnegie, the Kasauti pillars of the disputed structure had a strong resemblance with the Bauddh Vihar of Sarnath and Varanasi. This aspect was noticed by the high court judges as well," said Raj. "The Hindus have not been able to prove that Lord Rama was born there. At the most, they have evidence that the idol was placed there stealthily on 22-23 December 1949. Thus, there is no historical or archaeological evidence in their support. Similarly, the Muslims too have failed to name the organisation and person who built the Babri mosque. On the basis of the prayers offered there, they are claiming the title of the land. The Babri structure does not resemble the mosques spread all over the country, including the mosques built by Babar. Babri did not have a vazoo (ablution) area and minarets. It belonged to the Bauddh Vihar and should be given back to Buddhists."

The BEF, in its ­petition, says that the court has based its judgement on the basis of ASI findings obtained through partial excavation, and that the ASI findings do not support the claims of the Hindus, Muslims and Nirmohi Akhara; rather, the findings favour the ­Buddhists, but the ­misfortune is that the latter were not allowed to be a party to the dispute in the court.

 
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