Temple in Ayodhya, mosque in Lucknow: Shia board’s new peace formula
A Mughal-era mosque, the Babri masjid, stood on the land before it was demolished by a Hindu mob on December 6, 1992.india Updated: Nov 21, 2017 07:22 IST
A grand temple to god Ram in Ayodhya and a “masjid-e-aman (mosque of peace)” 135km away in Lucknow is the latest proposal made by the Shia wakf board to resolve India’s most contentious religious dispute.
Uttar Pradesh Shia waqf board chairman Waseem Rizvi’s said the suggestion would be forwarded to the Supreme Court, which will on December 5 begin a final round of hearings to decide the ownership of 2.7-acre piece of land in Ayodhya.
“After discussions with different parties we have prepared a proposal in which a Ram temple will be built in Ayodhya and a mosque can be built in Lucknow,” Rizvi said on Monday.
A Mughal-era mosque, the Babri masjid, stood on the land before it was demolished by a Hindu mob on December 6, 1992. More than 3,000 people were killed in the communal violence that followed the demolition.
Rizvi’s formula found support among some Hindu leaders and groups including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) but was denounced by majority of Muslims.
“The proposal has come under pressure (from the BJP),” Shia leader Maulana Kalbe Jawad said.
The Shia board is not a litigant in the case and its position is opposite to that of the Sunni board that claims ownership of the disputed site and rejects Hindu groups’ claims to the spot.
Many Hindus believe that Ram was born where Babur, the first Mughal emperor, built the mosque, which Rizvi claims has a Shia origin.
Though several peace formulae have been proposed, this is the first time a suggestion has come to build a mosque so far away from Ayodhya.
The suggestion is in keeping with Shia board’s another affidavit to the top court that said a mosque could be built in a Muslim-dominated area at a reasonable distance from the “most revered place of birth of Ram” in Ayodhya.
Rizvi’s move comes a few days after the Art of Living founder Ravi Shankar visited the temple town to explore the possibility of an out-of-court settlement. He failed to make much headway with both Hindu and Muslim groups questioning his locus standi.
Ram Janmbhoomi Nyas Nritya chief Gopal Das, Mahant Ram Das of Hanumangarahi, a disciple of late Mahant Bhaskar Das who was one of the main litigant, some VHP leaders are among those who backed Rizvi.
How long would people continue to fight over the issue, Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad’s Mahant Narendra Giri said at a press conference in Lucknow with Rizvi sitting next to him.
“Lord Ram was born in Ayodhya. We will meet all religious leaders to find a peaceful solution to the issue,” he said.
Giri said he would also talk to the Sunni board to give up its claim on the land, saying work on the temple could begin from 2018.
The Supreme Court is to hear challenges to an Allahabad high court order that divided the land between Ram Lalla (baby Ram), Nirmohi Akhada and the Sunni wakf board.
Opponents have accused the BJP of reviving the temple issue through the Sangh Parivar with an eye on 2019 Lok Sabha election. The promise of the Ram temple at Ayodhya has been central to the BJP’s rise in national politics.
(With agency inputs)
First Published: Nov 20, 2017 18:06 IST