‘Let’s wait and watch’: UP CM’s office on Waqf offer to invite
The Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board says it would like to invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Yogi Adityanath to lay the foundation stone for a hospital, school, library and other public facilities it plans to build on a five-acre plot the government has allocated to the Muslim community for an alternative mosque in lieu of the Babri masjid in Ayodhya.
HT reached out to the Prime Minister’s office and the PMO’s spokesperson, but received no response. An Uttar Pradesh government spokesperson said: “It is not the time to respond to it. It would be inappropriate on our part.” An advisor to the chief minister said: “It would be inappropriate to comment on something that’s only an idea. Currently, there are divisions in the Muslim community and stakeholders over the utilisation of the land. Let’s wait and watch.”
The mosque complex, to replace the Babri majid that was demolished on December 6, 1992 by Hindu activists, is due to come up in Ayodhya’s Dhannipur village. The Waqf Board has formed a trust called the Indo Islamic Cultural Foundation to oversee the construction of the mosque.
SM Shoeb, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Sunni Waqf Board, said: “We would like to invite the PM and the UP CM to lay the foundation of establishments of public utilities like the community kitchen, hospital, museum, library, etc. The list of invitees would be finalised in the board meeting after a discussion with the other members. It would be a matter of pride for the board if PM joins us for the inaugural programme.”
The CEO said there was no provision for any groundbreaking ceremony for a mosque in Islam. Such a ceremony can only be held for the planned public facilities, the Indo Islamic Cultural Foundation said.
“In all schools of thought, no ulema (cleric) has confirmed a provision for any ritual and groundbreaking ceremony for a mosque. Hence, there is no point in organising any such event or inviting anyone for such an event (for the mosque),” said Athar Hussain, spokesperson for the foundation.
Adityanath, in an interview to a TV channel on August 5, the day the bhoomi pujan for the Ram temple took place, said: “I am not a party to it (mosque) in any manner. So neither will anyone invite me nor will I go. I know I am not going to get any such invitation. If I get any such invitation, then secularism of many people will be in danger. So I better work silently and send benefits of the government schemes to all without any discrimination.”