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Babri Masjid-Ram temple case: Meet the new warriors in old Ayodhya dispute

BJP parliamentarian Subramanian Swamy, spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Shia Waqf Board chief Waseem Rizvi have emerged as the new actors of the movement.

india Updated: Dec 05, 2017 13:43 IST
Smriti Kak Ramachandran and M Tariq Khan
Smriti Kak Ramachandran and M Tariq Khan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi/Lucknow
Babri Masjid,Ayodhya,Ram Janmabhoomi‬
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy at the birthday celebrations of Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas chief Mahant Nritya Gopal Das in Ayodhya.(Ashok Dutta/HT File Photo)

The Ram temple-Babri Masjid dispute might have festered on for more than a century but the simmering conflict has now found newer protagonists, who have grabbed public imagination and national headlines. BJP parliamentarian Subramanian Swamy, spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Shia Waqf Board chief Waseem Rizvi have emerged as the new actors of the movement.

Read: SC to begin final hearing in Ayodhya case today

SUBRAMANIAN SWAMY

The parliamentarian is convinced that a Ram Mandir will be constructed in Ayodhya by October 2018 and the ‘forthcoming Diwali would be celebrated’ at the temple.

The basis for his assertion are ‘evidences’ that he cites to claim the temple existed, these include references from excavations carried out in 2002-03 that found inscriptions describing a temple. Many historians say the evidence doesn’t prove a temple ever existed. But Swamy has already moved the Supreme Court, seeking permission to rebuild the temple. Outside court, he is drumming up support and thundering that ‘the mosque can be set up elsewhere’,” he has often said.

Read: Ram temple: Will Yogi finish what Kalyan started?

SRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR

In October, the Art of Living founder offered to mediate but did not elicit an enthusiastic response . The RSS distanced itself. Its affiliate, the VHP pointed out similar efforts in the past did not yield results. Former BJP MP and Hindu ideologue Ram Vilas Vedanti rejected the offer, arguing Sri Sri did not qualify to mediate on an issue he was never associated with. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board too expressed reservations, opting to settle for court’s arbitration.

WASEEM RIZVI

The UP Shia Waqf Board jumped into the dispute on August 8 with an affidavit before the Supreme Court claiming the mosque was its property. The move came 71 years after it lost the legal battle to the Sunni Waqf Board in a trial court in Faizabad.

Read: It was a temple and will remain one: Kar sevaks recall Babri Masjid demolition

Board chairman Waseem Rizvi is facing the heat for alleged anomalies in waqf properties, which number around 5,000 in the state. A protégé of senior Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan, Rizvi was last elected chairman of the board for the fourth consecutive term in May 2015.

Rizvi has held several meetings with Hindu leaders but has left out the Sunni Waqf Board, which he says has no claim over the property. The Shia body proposes to shift the mosque and give the disputed land for the construction of Ram Temple.

First Published: Dec 05, 2017 09:23 IST