The Babri demolition case has created a piquant situation in the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), which is now a "divided house" over the issue.
The case is turning out to be a major political issue with some senior AIMPLB ulema (clerics) desperately trying to avoid precipitating the crisis for chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav in the run up to assembly election.
However, others in the board, who had been closely associated with Babri movement, have been pressing the leadership to take on the state government on the issue.
At the executive committee meeting in Delhi on Sunday, the "Babri brigade" forced the members to adopt a resolution asking the AIMPLB chairman Maulana Rabe Hasan Nadvi, whose proximity with Yadav and Urban Development Minister Mohd Azam Khan is well known, to lead a delegation to the chief minister to press for the demand of fresh notification in the Babri Masjid demolition case.
The vice-chairman and Shia cleric Dr Kalbe Sadiq is also a supporter of the Samajwadi Party. The chief minister had recently announced to provide land and financial assistance of Rs 25 lakh to his proposed girls college. Dr Sadiq had also presented the 'Bugam Hazrat Mahal' award to Yadav.
The board has long been demanding fresh notification clubbing case number 197 and 198 so that trial could be taken up in a Lucknow court.
Even though Yadav had in the past announced in the Lok Sabha to issue notification whenever his party came to power, no action had been taken after lapse of more than three years, commented senior board member Qasim Rasool Ilyas.
Another member Zafaryab Jilani too is unhappy with the government on the issue. Azam Khan, who has long been a votary of the Babri movement, has now adopted a stoic silence on the issue.
AIMPLB sources said on Tuesday that Yadav was not happy with 'Milli Council' - a political wing of the board, which had supported BSP and Congress along with SP in last Lok Sabha election.
A section in the board has been making it an issue at the time of assembly election, but others have been trying to scuttle it.
While Ilyas recently said that "time is running fast", those close to the SP are in no mood to confront the government at the time of election.
Ilyas said the Yadav government had been protecting BJP leaders. He said if cases pending against BJP leader LK Advani, MM Joshi and others in Rae Bareli were clubbed with the Lucknow case the trial could be speeded up.
Inexplicably, the state government is against issuing any notification. The board claims to have written over half-a-dozen letters to the chief minister over the last three years but to no avail.