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November 9, 2019

Nov 9 likely to redraw Pak-India fault lines afresh

National

November 9, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Today (November 9, 2019) is likely to go down in history as the date which will impact relations between Pakistan and India for decades to come. The 800-acre massive Kartarpur Gurdarwara complex, the biggest in the world for Sikh community opens up on today. The same day, the Indian Supreme Court is going to announce the verdict in Ayodhya case over demolition of Babri Mosque.

In a significant development a day after Indian annexation of Kashmir, on August 6, Indian Supreme court started hearing the Babri Mosque case after eight years and reserved the judgement on October 16 after 40 days of hearing and fixed.

November 9 will either begin a new chapter of harmony in South Asia or split it on religious lines for many decades to come. The Babri mosque demolition has been the base of BJP Hindutva resurgence politics and they are hoping for a verdict from Supreme Court to allow Ram temple to be built at the site.

The kartarpur opening is a sign of hope and harmony for the region. Whereas there is extreme apprehension in Utter Pradesh and other parts of India over communal riots in anticipation of Indian Supreme court decision on Babri Mosque demolition case. Indian Prime Minister Modi and his senior ministers visited BJP leader L.K. Advani yesterday on his birthday to acknowledge his role in demolition of Babri Mosque.

In 1990-91 L K Advani launched his campaign for the Ram temple in place of Babri Mosque which led to clashes and the demolition of famous 16th century Babri Mosque by around 200,000 zealots in 1992. The situation worsened in 2002 when in retaliation to killings of around 58 Hindu Pilgrims in a train from Ayodhya to Gujarat, the site of demolished Babri Mosque and proposed Ram temple, over 2000 muslims were murdered in Gujarat. Modi was chief minister of Gujarat at the time.

A legal battle ensued between three parties to the conflict over the Babri Mosque site. In September 2010, Allahabad High Court issued its judgement splitting the 2.77 acre site into three equal parts between Sunni Wakf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

All parties went to Supreme court and the Allahabad High Court order was stayed in 2011.

The Indian chief justice retires on November 17 and will announce the verdict in babri mosque case today. The situation is extremely tense in Ayodhya and the prohibitory order for processions, celebrations have been issued to control extreme reactions which are expected after the verdict.

As South Asia and China have assumed centre-stage in global rivalry between USA and China, the politics around religious beliefs and practices in the region has assumed new dimensions and extreme importance.

At the end of last month, US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback visited Dharamshala in Indian state of Himachal Pradesh to meet exiled Tibetan leader Dalai Lama. The very next day, Chinese foreign ministry reacted and urged the US to stop using Tibet-related issues to interfere in China's internal affairs. The US has been raising the issue of maltreatment of Uyghurs Muslims in China at every possible forum in the last few months. As India annexed Kashmir on August 6 in a unilateral decision, Pakistan pressed ahead with meeting a longstanding Sikh community demand to open up the Kartarpur corridor in its territory to let Sikhs visit the shrine. The Ayodhya decision by Indian supreme court is likely to increase tensions on religious lines and religion-based politics in the region.

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