'There are two reasons for not pursuing the matter anymore': Muslim leader on Ayodhya verdict

On October 9, when Supreme Court ruled Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute case in favour of building a Ram temple at the disputed Ayodhya site not everybody was happy. Now reports have surfaced saying that top Muslim leader remains firm in his decision to not pursue the matter anymore.

While talking to NDTV, Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board chairperson Zafar Farooqui said that there were two reasons why they didn't seek review on the judgemnet. "There are two reasons for our decision. First, it had been our clear stand from day one that we would abide by the Supreme Court's verdict - whatever it may be. Second, this issue has created a deep divide in our society over the years. Going for a review could have meant vitiating the atmosphere again," Farooqui told NDTV in an interview.

There was also some disagreement on whether alternative land for the mosque should be accepted at all. "The opinions being expressed by the people are quite diverse, but we are still in the process of getting an opinion on the action required to comply with the order. Once that opinion comes in later this month, we will place it before the board," Farooqui told NDTV.

A five-judge constitutional bench had delivered a landmark judgment in the Ayodhya case on October 9, handing the disputed land in its entirety for the construction of a Ram temple while directing that a separate five-acre plot be given to Muslim litigants.

The five acres of land to be allocated for building a mosque under the Supreme Court verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute should be within the 67 acres of acquired land in Ayodhya, Iqbal Ansari, a main litigant in the case, and several other local Muslim leaders have demanded.

"If they want to give us the land, they must give us according to our convenience and only in that acquired land of 67 acres. Then we will take it. Otherwise we will reject the offer, as people are saying 'Go out of Chaudah Kos and construct Masjid there'. This is not fair," Ansari told PTI.

But Farooqui, told NDTV that he couldn't possibly speak for other Muslim litigants in the case. "See, every party is free to take its decision. The Sunni Waqf Board decided to not go for a review, and gave me the power to deal with the issue. However, the other stakeholders -- including the All India Muslim Personal Law Board -- are free to take their own decisions. I can't force my views on them."

The Uttar Pradesh government has started the process of identifying alternative sites in and around Ayodhya for the proposed mosque, reported PTI. However, the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Board of Waqf has called a meeting on November 26 in Lucknow to discuss about the land issue.

Settling a fractious issue that goes back more than a century, the Supreme Court in a historic verdict on October 9 backed the construction of a Ram temple by a government trust at the disputed site in Ayodhya, and ruled that an alternative five-acre plot must be found for a mosque in the Hindu holy town.

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