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Ayodhya dispute: Shia Waqf Board chief meets Sri Sri, supports temple at the site

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“The Shia Central Wakf Board does not want any mosque to be constructed at Ram’s birth place. Instead it should be constructed elsewhere in a Muslim populated area.”

Lucknow : Amid reports of mediation talks by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on the Ayodhya issue, Uttar Pradesh Shia Central Waqf Board chairman Waseem Rizvi met the Art of Living founder in Bengaluru on Tuesday and apprised him of the Board’s stand that a Ram temple should be built at the site.

“I met Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and apprised him of the (Shia) Board’s stand that a Ram temple should be constructed at the Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya. I have met all seers and mahants contesting the case for the construction of a temple in court. All of them are ready for talks,” Rizvi told PTI over the phone.


The Shia Waqf Board is drafting the terms and conditions of a mutual agreement, he said. “The Shia Central Wakf Board does not want any mosque to be constructed at Ram’s birth place. Instead it should be constructed elsewhere in a Muslim populated area,” he said.

Rizvi said that the number of mosques in Ayodhya were sufficient for the Muslims residing there. There is no need for a new mosque, he said. He claimed that those demanding the construction of a mosque at Ram’s birthplace, or near it, only wanted to linger the dispute.

“The demolished mosque belonged to the Shia Waqf and the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has no right to decide on it. Only the Shia board has the right to decide,” Rizvi claimed.

I have conveyed my intentions to Ravi Shankar, he said, adding that the initiative would strengthen Hindu-Muslim brotherhood.

In a bid to resolve Ayodhya issue, Ravi Shankar had reportedly met Nirmohi Akhara leaders and Muslim law board members recently. Though the AIMPLB is not a party in the case, being the apex Islamic body on religious and personal matters, it wields considerable influence.

Rizvi, however, declined to divulge as to what Ravi Shankar told him.  The Art of Living Foundation had said last week that Ravi Shankar was in touch with several imams and swamis, including Acharya Ram Das of the Nirmohi Akhara, to help find an out-of- court settlement to the Ram Temple dispute.

However, earlier, AIMPLB member and Convenor of Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC) Zafaryab Jilani had denied that any of their authorised representatives met the Art of Living founder for an out-of-court settlement.

“The Ayodhya dispute cannot be settled through arbitration. We will never withdraw our claim to the land in Ayodhya where once the Babri mosque stood and was demolished on December 6, 1992. If Ravi Shankar wants to mediate on this issue, he should send a formal proposal to the AIMPLB,” Jilani had said.

If some individual members of the board did meet Ravi Shankar, it doesn’t represent what AIMPLB stands by, he added. Jilani said the position of the board was clear that a solution was possible only through adjudication.

The Allahabad High Court, in 2010, had ruled a three-way division of the disputed 2.77-acre area at Ayodhya among Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and Lord Ram Lalla.

Man claiming to be Mughal descendant lays claim over plot

Lucknow: A man claiming to be the descendant of Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar on Tuesday staked claim over the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site insisting that the demolished mosque belonged to Babur, therefore, he should be appointed the caretaker of the property.

Prince Yakub Habeebuddin Tucy even presented his “DNA report” before the media here to support his claims.

“The Babri mosque belonged to emperor Babar, and as I am a descendant of the Mughals, I am the owner of the Babri mosque,” Tucy told newspersons.

He demanded that the Sunni Waqf Board of Uttar Pradesh declare him as the ‘Mutwalli’ adding that he had met the minister concerned, Chaudhary Laxmi Narain, on Monday in this regard.

“The minister asked me to move an application before the Sunni Waqf Board,” he claimed, reports PTI.

Stressing that he would move court in case the Sunni Waqf Board did not appoint him as the ‘Mutwalli’, Tucy said that he will help find a solution to the long standing dispute through dialogue.