Post the SC verdict, the media focus refuses to shift from the legal debate of “Ayodhya” to the capturing of the common sentiment about “Babri” of the Muslim minority in India

In the past couple of days much has been written about the Supreme Court’s Ayodhya verdict. There have been multiple news articles, opinion pieces which have dissected the judgement down to the bone. News media has reported every update of the case, the history of the court hearings, reactions of political leaders and right-wing leaders. What has not been reported and brought to the fore is the general sentiments of the aggrieved party, the Muslim community.

Muslims in India have been aggrieved since 1989, when the idol of Lord Ram was stealthily kept in the Babri Masjid premises, again in 1992 when the mosque was demolished by the radical right wing and now again in 2019 when the judiciary failed them. While groups that represent the interest of the community have been quoted in the news, there were only a few that cared to report about the most important figure in this legal tug of war, the Muslim common man.

The Telegraph, on November 11 reported how in Ayodhya, Eid-e-Milad was celebrated without pomp and heart. On Eid-e-Milad or Milad-Un-Nabi, which is the day that marks Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, one witnesses processions along decorated streets, with people wearing new clothes, to be followed by feasts. This year, however, the festival happened to fall on a day following the Ayodhya verdict and the alleys carried a sombre look. People chose to just go to the mosque and pray but and many localities cancelled planned celebrations as the overall atmosphere did not call for any festivities. Many locals even refrained to comment on the Ayodhya verdict out of fear and many who did comment wished to do so anonymously.

The Hindustan Times, on November 10, reported that in Pune, the festival was “celebrated peacefully with traditional religious fervour” (sic). It was reported that processions were taken out and sweets and fruits distributed to the needy. While statements of a few prominent people were taken, such from a Muslim NGO, or the Principal of Poona College and a religious cleric, none of these personalities even mentioned the Ayodhya verdict. Although it was disgraceful to even prefix “peaceful” before writing about the celebrations, as if it were a matter of surprise or an unusual happening.

Scroll, on November 9, the day of the verdict brought to us the voices of Muslim from Old Delhi’s Chawri Bazar and Jama Masjid both of which are Muslim dominated areas. While some said that they expected the verdict, some said that the judgment revealed the attitudes of the judiciary which refused to go against the majority faith. Some other wished that actual issues plaguing the common man would be focused upon now that Ayodhya issue is resolved once and for all. A student at Jamia Millia Islamia called the verdict “pro-majority” and said that she has expected that the apex court will come up with a solution that will ultimately lead to social justice and be fair to both parties.

News 18 carried a piece where reactions to Ayodhya were caught. Amongst the 22 reactions of political leaders, on the verdict of case which had Hindus and Muslims on opposite sides, only 1 voice was from a Muslim leader, AIMIM’s chief Asaduddin Owaisi, who has been a vocal critic of the ruling party, rest all were statements from Hindu political leaders.

The media has been walking on egg shells while reporting on the verdict’s reactions from Muslim Community, specially the masses. Perhaps they fear their questions will arouse inciteful emotions among the masses or maybe in all this legal fervour, it has been lost upon them that people who witnessed the 1992 carnage continue to live on, once hopeful of justice, are now compelled to accept the verdict  as if it were served on a platter.

Courtesy Sabrang …