The Popular Front of India, a civil rights network, has said that the Varanasi district court order directing the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to carry out a “physical survey” of the Gyanvapi mosque is a “clear case of abetting the Sangh Parivar assault on the Constitutional rights of religious minorities.”
“The court direction disregards the precedent set by the Supreme Court in the Babri Masjid title suit, where the five judge bench had stated it clear that the archaeological findings by the ASI cannot be the basis of law in a title dispute”, a resolution by PFI’s national executive Council, said.
It added, “The court order is also in contravention of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, which seeks to maintain and protect the status quo of places of worship in India as of August 15, 1992”, adding, “This law was reconfirmed by the Ayodhya case verdict of the Supreme Court in 2019.”
PFI, which claims to be doing coordinated efforts for “socio-economic, cultural and political empowerment of the deprived and the downtrodden”, further said, the district court verdict comes despite the fact that “appeals against the petition filed by temple claimants in Varanasi district court are still pending before the Allahabad High Court”, urging the High Court and the Supreme Court to “quash the present order which violates the law and transgresses jurisdiction.”
According to PFI, “This ruling should be read along with the recent trends of judiciary entertaining suits that carry the violent divisive agenda of the Sangh Parivar against Muslim religious places and practices.” It believes, “The inclusion of two minority community members in the ASI team should be seen as an attempt to garnish some credibility to the heinous moves that only promote the divisive agenda of RSS.”
In another resolution, PFI described the National Council For Promotion Of Urdu Language’s (NCPUL’s) move to release an Urdu version of RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat’s book a “despicable” move to reach out to Muslims in order to convince them with “toxic notions” like every Indian should “identify themselves as Hindus and assimilate themselves in RSS shakhas for the sake of nation-building.”