A fresh controversy has surfaced in Ayodhya just a two days before the 17th anniversary of demolition of the disputed structure. A new Ayodhya-Faizabad City guide shows the disputed site as 'Ram Janmabhoomi'. The guide was distributed by the Regional Tourism Department (Faizabad) at the Ramayan Mela held from November 20 to 23 this year.
Disputed map, published by Regional Tourist Department, Faizabad
Reacting to the issue, Haji Mahaboob, plaintiff in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case, wondered how the Tourism Department could show the disputed site as 'Ram Janmabhoomi' when the matter was pending in the High Court.
"We will take the matter to the High Court and lodge a strong protest with the Faizabad commissioner," he said.
Similarly, Khalique Ahamad Khan, convenor of the Helal Committee and the High Court nominated representative in the Ram Janmabhoomi -Babri Masjid case, said he would take up the matter with the Minorities Commission and the director general of Tourism. He also said he would brief Zafaryab Jilani, vice-president of the Muslim Personal Law Board, during his visit to Ayodhya on December 6.
Muslim leaders want the issue to be raised in Parliament by MPs. Vishwa Hindu Parishad media incharge Sharad Sharma had a different take on the issue. He said since 1934, a majority of authentic official documents showed the site as 'Ram Janmasthan-Sita Rasoi'.
He added Ayodhya was known worldwide for 'Ram Janmabhoomi' and the Tourism Department had thus discharged its duty honestly.
Mahant Gyan Das of Hanumangarhi (Ayodhya), who is also president of the Akhara Parishad, strongly defended the guide published by the tourism Department.
Laxmi Kant Singh, state president of the Bhartiya Shiksha Samiti and Mahanagar Sangh Chalak (units of the RSS), said Ayodhya was widely acknowledged as the birthplace of Lord Ram.
He said though the matter was pending in the High Court, the Tourism Department had shown Lord Ram's birthplace in Ayodhya to attract international and domestic tourists.
He felt there was no need to raise a hue and cry over the matter. The fresh controversy has prompted the district administration to review security arrangements for the 17th anniversary of the demolition of disputed structure.