Ayodhya doesn’t reverberate with Jai Shri Ram slogans anymore. But Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders arriving in the temple town on Wednesday for a function organised by Ramjanmabhoomi Trust convener Mahant Nritya Gopal Das are certain to reiterate their resolve to build a Ram temple where a makeshift temple now stands. Nothing new.
What is new is that their feathers will be ruffled this time by a growing group of residents from the Hindu and Muslim communities in Ayodhya and adjoining Faizabad who support a formula to restore peace in their lives.
The group of peaceniks is mobilising public support for their four-point formula finalised in Ayodhya last month to resolve the Ram Temple/Babri Mosque dispute.
The formula envisages building a temple at the place where the idol of Ram is currently placed and construction of a mosque within the acquired area about 300 metres from where the disputed structure once stood in the ratio laid down by the Allahabad high court.
It also suggests that the southern part of the 70-acre area, earmarked by the court for handing over to the Muslims, be enclosed by a boundary wall and have no construction on it.
The fourth point is that no external organisation be allowed to interfere in the matter.
The initiator of the move is retired Allahabad high court judge Pulok Basu, who visits the temple town every fortnight and insists, “It is not my solution. It is a formula evolved by local inhabitants, both Muslims and Hindus, after exhaustive deliberations.”
The group’s campaign committee has circulated about 10,000 forms to be signed by local residents.
Once this task is over, the signed memorandum will be submitted to the Faizabad commissioner, who is the receiver of the 70 acres of acquired land in Ayodhya appointed by the Supreme Court.
Basu said, “Section 89 of the Constitution allows arbitration. We will submit our memorandum to the receiver, who can send it to the state and central governments. Once it reaches the Supreme Court, it will take it up for consideration.”
The other option, however, is to file a representative suit under section 89 in the apex court next month.
The group’s coordination committee will meet on June 29 to take a final decision after reviewing the support the formula receives in the two towns by then.
Group convener Mahant Janmejay Sharan said, “The response has been overwhelming. We have thousands of signatures.”
Till now, however, most signatories are Hindus, though Muslims took an active part in the deliberations.
Local journalist Manzar Mehdi, a member of the campaign committee, said, “We have a huge challenge before us but we’re moving ahead despite threats from various quarters.
We decided to offer a sacrifice in the interest of the country.”
Advocate Haji Mehboob, who is also associated with the Babri Mosque movement, however, said that though Muslims also want the matter settled amicably, the mosque land where the makeshift temple stands today is non-negotiable.
Advocate Gyan Prakash, spokesperson of the 12-member coordination committee entrusted with the task of obtaining signatures, said, “Local people, who have suffered the most want an amicable settlement.”
He said Basu had spoken to Mahant Nritya Gopal Das and Hashim Ansari, the original plaintiff in the temple-mosque case. “They have not come on board yet but want an amicable solution,” Prakash said.
But the Nirmohi Akhara, a plaintiff in the case, favours the proposal. Their advocate, Ranjit Lal Verma, said, “Our mahant had suggested the same formula some years ago. The court will invite objections from the parties and may appoint an arbitrator.”