UP Shia board to gift silver arrows for Lord Ram’s statue in Ayodhya
After welcoming Yogi Adityanath government’s move to build a 100-meter high statue of Lord Ram on the banks of Saryu river in Ayodhya, the Uttar Pradesh Shia Central Waqf Board has said it would gift 10 silver arrows for his quiver as a mark of respect.
In a letter to chief minister Adityanath, the board’s chairman, Waseem Rizvi said that the construction of the statue would be a matter of pride of all Indians and will put UP on the world map.
“UP government’s decision to erect a statue of Lord Ram is commendable. In keeping with the Ganga-Jamuni tehezeeb of Awadh, these silver arrows would be just a token of admiration and esteem in which Shias hold Lord Ram,” he said.
“The Nawabs of this region always respected the temples in Ayodhya. Even the land for Hanuman Garhi in central Ayodhya was donated by Nawab Shuja-ud-Daulah in 1739, while the funds to construct the Hanuman Garhi temple were provided by Nawab Asif-ud-Daullah, between 1775 and 1793,” Rizvi pointed out.
Waseem’s statement comes days after members of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board Zafaryab Jilani and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi criticised the UP government’s proposal.
Both the leaders termed the move illegal and unconstitutional, saying in a secular country, a government cannot involve or associate itself in a project like this (building the statue of a religious deity).
But Rizvi, who was once a close aide of Samajwadi Party leader and former UP minister Azam Khan and is now in the the cross-hairs of the Adityanath government for alleged anomalies in land deals and bunglings in the waqf board, brushed aside such arguments.
He had earlier created a flutter by strongly favouring the construction of Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya, claiming the land actually belonged to the Shias and not the Sunni Waqf Board.
Rizvi filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court, saying that the board had no problem if the mosque was built at a reasonable distance from the 2.73-acre disputed land, preferably in a Muslim dominated locality, in Ayodhya.
The Shia Board is one of the parties in the pending appeals in the SC. The Board had also claimed in the affidavit that the property, on which Babri Masjid had stood before it was demolished by a frenzied mob on December 6, 1992, belonged to it and that only the Board was entitled to negotiate an amicable solution with the consent of all the stakeholders in the dispute.
The Ram Janma Bhoomi-Babri Masjid issue has been pending in the Supreme Court since 2010, after the Allahabad HC divided the land equally between ‘Ram Lalla’, the Nirmohi Akhara and the Sunni Central Waqf Board.