Muslim appeal over Ayodhya ruling

By Chris Morris
BBC News, Delhi

Image caption,
The case has dragged on for decades, from well before the destruction of the mosque in 1992

One of India's leading Muslim groups has appealed against a ruling over the Ayodhya holy site, where a Hindu mob destroyed a mosque 18 years ago.

Two months ago, Lucknow High Court said the land should be divided, and that the razed 16th century mosque should not be rebuilt.

Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind says the judgement appears to be based not on evidence but on the professed belief of Hindus.

Hindus claim the Babri Masjid site is the birthplace of their deity, Ram.

A lawyer representing the group, Anis Suhrawardy, said this was not an appropriate basis for a ruling in an Indian court of law.

"The judgement of the high court is not legally sustainable. There is no scope for belief, myth or faith," he said.

"We have a written constitution; in written constitutions there are laws; if there are laws then they are to be applied."

The appeal, which extends to 11,000 pages, also argues that the high court went beyond its remit in ordering that the disputed land should be divided between three parties - two Hindu groups and one Muslim.

The case - based on who owns the land - has dragged on for decades, from well before the destruction of the Babri Masjid mosque in 1992.

The attack was followed by some of the worst religious riots in the country's history, causing thousands of deaths.

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