Muslim clerics meet Ravi Shankar in bid for out-of-court settlement | lucknow | Hindustan Times
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Muslim clerics meet Ravi Shankar in bid for out-of-court settlement

Ravi Shankar is set to arrive in Ayodhya in March for a meeting with saints, hardliners and clerics in his efforts to find a settlement to the dispute.

lucknow Updated: Feb 09, 2018 22:55 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey/M Tariq Khan
Muslim clerics and intellectuals who flew to Bangalore to meet Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to find an out-of-court settlement to the Ayodhya dispute
Muslim clerics and intellectuals who flew to Bangalore to meet Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to find an out-of-court settlement to the Ayodhya dispute (Sourced from Art of Living)

Sixteen Muslim clerics and intellectuals met Art of Living (AoL) founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Bangalore on Thursday to explore the possibility of an out-of-court settlement of Ayodhya’s Babri Masjid-Ram Janambhoomi dispute, said AoL officials and Muslim delegates to the meeting.

The suggestions put forth at the Bangalore meet would be put up at the AIMPLB meeting by Maulana Salman Nadvi, AIMPLB executive body member. He was present during the deliberations with spiritual guru Ravi Shankar.

“There can be no better way to resolve the issue, if all the parties agree to a mutually-agreeable settlement. But then there are several hardliners on both the sides, who have opposed and stalled such attempts,” said Maulana Nadvi on phone from Bangalore.

Ravi Shankar is set to arrive in Ayodhya in March for a meeting with saints, hardliners and clerics in his efforts to find a settlement to the dispute.

The Supreme Court, which resumed hearing in the Ayodhya case on Thursday, scheduled the next hearing in March.

Kin of renowned Islamic scholar, late Maulana Abul Hasan Nadvi aka Ali Mian, Maulana Nadvi confirmed he would be sharing the details of the talks with Sri Sri with the AIMPLB members at the meeting in Hyderabad.

Nadvi is also dean of the prominent Lucknow-based Islamic seminary, Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama.

The cleric admitted that a consensus has started developing gradually within the Muslim scholars and religious leaders to find a solution to the dispute.

“But any formula or solution would not be possible without the consent and support of the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board, the Jamait-e-Ulema and the AIMPLB,” he said.

To the proposal mooted at the meeting to shift the mosque to a bigger alternative site, the cleric said the property was vested with the Sunni Waqf Board and nobody under the Waqf Act is empowered to give or transfer a waqf property.

“Section 51 and 104 (a) of the Waqf Act 2013 impose a bar on sale, exchange or gifting of a waqf property,” said Zufar Ahmed Faruqui, chairman of the UP Sunni Central Waqf, one of the main litigants to the title suit. “Things are still at a very early stage. We are participating in the talks despite the limitations imposed by the Act because we do not want to give an impression that we are running away from a negotiated settlement,” said Faruqui.

Despite the buzz that his initiative had the backing of the top leaders of the RSS and the ruling BJP, Ravi Shankar has maintained that it was his personal effort.

“Everyone is interested in a peaceful settlement to the dispute. The efforts showcase real intent,” said Athar Hussain, director of the Centre of Objective Research and Development, who coordinated the meeting.

Maulana Wasif Hasan from Lucknow’s Telay Wali Masjid, Zufar Faruqui, Maulana Isa Mansuri, chairman, World Islamic Forum, London, retired bureaucrat Anees Ansari, AR Rahman, a businessman from UK, Imran Ahmed, advocate, Lucknow, A Aboobucker, ex- chairman, Haj Committee of India, MGS Kamal, advocate, Bangalore and Dr Musa Kaiser, Bangalore, were also present at the meeting.