Clerics question timing of Centre’s Ayodhya petition in Supreme Court, Shia board hails it
Muslim bodies and clerics on Tuesday questioned the timing of Centre’s petition in the Supreme Court offering to return a part of the 67.703 acres acquired in 1993 by the government in and around a disputed site in Ayodhya to its original owners, terming the move, months before Lok Sabha elections, unwarranted and one-sided.
The petition, seeking to return the undisputed part of the land, sought amendments to apex court verdicts that had imposed status quo on the acquired plot.
“The Supreme Court has appointed Centre as the receiver of the entire land keeping in mind the various intricacies and sensitive nature of the dispute. Hindus alone do not own the entire 67 acres, there is land belonging to (a) graveyard and other Muslims also,” said Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahli, a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board. In any case, a final call on the Centre’s plea would be taken by the apex court, he added.
Waseem Rizvi, chairman of the UP Shia Central Waqf Board Waseem Rizvi, a votary of the construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed site welcomed the move. “It’s a very good initiative. We all know that a grand Ram temple has to be built in Ayodhya. If the SC releases this land which is not disputed, construction work on a temple can immediately start...,’” he said.
Some Muslim clerics, however, reacted strongly to the suggestion. “The Centre is merely the receiver of the land. How can a government in a secular country be seen to be siding or favouring one community over another,” said Maulana Sufiyan Nizami, a Sunni cleric.