Muslim organisations and opposition parties on Friday accused Uttar Pradesh governor Ram Naik of making an unconstitutional statement on a sub judice subject when he called for construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya.
“People of the nation want Ram Mandir to be made, that wish should be fulfilled as soon as possible,” Naik said at the convocation programme of Awadh University in Faizabad on Thursday, stoking fears that the controversial movement has regained momentum with hawks among Hindu groups getting emboldened by the BJP’s massive election victories this year.
Maulana Syed Nizamuddin, the general secretary of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), linked the governor’s statement to the ruling BJP’s promise ahead of the Lok Sabha election but he asserted the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi land dispute was pending in the Supreme Court and its verdict has to be accepted by one and all.
“By (making) such statements, Naik has been trying to influence the judiciary and keep the people in good humour,” he said, reprising the fact the subject is sub judice.
Maulana Nizamuddin said Muslims weren’t opposed to a temple at the site, but not exactly where the Babri Masjid once stood.
Naik, a former minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government (1999-2004), made a similar statement in Faizabad on November 11, saying the Narendra Modi administration would find a consensus-based solution.
But Hindu groups have put their weight behind Naik, saying he has underscored people’s feelings. Satyendra Das, the chief priest of the makeshift temple at the disputed site, said both Hindus and Muslims should respect the governor’s statement. “The people want the Ram temple constructed here.”
Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas chief Mahant Janamajai Sharan Maharaj said the shrine should not be built at the cost of peace, though.
Political parties on Friday clubbed Naik’s comments together with BJP member Sakshi Maharaj calling Nathuram Godse a patriot and Union minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti’s derogatory remarks at a Delhi poll rally to accuse the ruling party at the Centre of polarising society and spreading communal hatred.
Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) said the recent remarks of BJP leaders have revealed the “true face” of the saffron party.
In Delhi, BSP chief Mayawati said the government should refrain from making such sub judice statements since he holds a constitutional position and people should wait for the apex court’s judgment.
An undercurrent for an out-of-court settlement surfaced early this month when Hashim Ansari, one of the oldest litigants in the case, threatened to withdraw and adopted a soft stand. “I no longer want to see Ram Lala under a tent,” he said.
The AIMPLB, however, dismissed any suggestions of an out-of-court settlement. It also opposed Babri Masjid Action Committee vice-president Mushtaq Ahmad’s move to offer namaz at the disputed site.
(With inputs from agencies)