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What is behind the Shia Waqf Board suggestion of a mosque at another site in Ayodhya?

The affidavit has come at time when a three-judge bench has been constituted to hear the petitions challenging the Allahabad High Court order, which had ruled in 2010 to divide the disputed land to Ram Lala, Nirmohi Akhara and Sunni Central Waqf Board.

Written by Maulshree Seth | Lucknow |
August 11, 2017 3:39:07 pm
ayodhya case, babri masjid demolition, shia waqf board, shia central waqf board, babri masjid, chief minister yogi adityanath , sunni waqf board, india news Since 1989, the Shia Central Waqf Board has been a party to the Ram Janma Bhoomi- Babri Masjid dispute case but so far it had remained “neutral” according to one of the office bearers of the Board.

Over 70 years after a local court in Faizabad ruled in favour of the Sunni Waqf claim over Babri Masjid following a dispute with the Shia Waqf, the Shia Central Waqf Board has not only decided to challenge the old order but has also suggested an “amicable settlement solution” to the Ram Janma Bhoomi – Babri Masjid dispute claiming the demolished Babri Masjid as a Shia Waqf property and suggesting the construction of new mosque at a distance from the temple.

Since 1989, the Shia Central Waqf Board has been a party to the Ram Janma Bhoomi- Babri Masjid dispute case but so far it had remained “neutral” according to one of the office bearers of the Board. This is the first time that the Board has decided to not only make a claim over the Masjid but also suggest a solution, reportedly in an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court three days ago.

The affidavit has come at time when a three-judge bench has been constituted to hear the petitions challenging the Allahabad High Court order, which had ruled in 2010 to divide the disputed land to Ram Lala, Nirmohi Akhara and Sunni Central Waqf Board. The hearing is scheduled to take place on August 11.

While the reports about the contents of the above affidavit have directly put the Shia and the Sunni Central Waqf Boards in confrontation with each other, Wasim Rizvi, Chairman of the Shia Central Waqf Board, who had submitted the affidavit, claims that it was a unanimously taken decision by the Board, last month, after a three-month long search for the old files.

“The old inscriptions show that the Babri Masjid was built by Mir Baqi, who was apparently the commandment of Babar and later became governor of Awadh. Mir Baqi was a Shia and for a long time the masjid also had Shia Mutawali. After some conspiracy in 1944, the Shia Waqf Board laid claim to it. Later, a local court in Faizabad ruled in its favour in 1946. For no reason, the Shia Waqf decided not to make an appeal against the order then,” Rizvi told The Indian Express. He added that he has suggested the construction of the mosque at a distance because he believes that, “There would be continued tension if the mosque is built near a place next to the temple. For the comfort of Muslims, it is better that the mosque is built in an Muslim dominated area,” he explained.

While the Sunni Central Waqf Board has questioned the timing of the intervention, Rizvi claims that the old records had gone missing and following an inquiry constituted by the Board about three months ago, the old records related to the 1946 case were found and on the basis of the same Board meeting last month decided to challenge the old order and also suggest a solution to the present dispute. However, he failed to explain what actually triggered the search for the old files and the related inquiry.

“It is true that we did not raise it so far but it just came out in discussion among the members and the Board decided to act on it and put it forward strongly,” said Bukkal Nawab, former Samajwadi Party MLC and also a member of the Board, who recently joined the BJP had resigned as an MLC.

“Since 1989 they are party to the case but they never had any dispute so far,” says Zafaryab Jilani, who represents All India Muslim Personal Law Board in the Babari Masjid case. Jilani adds that “For so many years if you do not raise a dispute then what should it be considered? Should it be not considered as acceptance of the existing order?” He said, “The court will take its decision but the affidavit has no relevance as this is not a Public Interest Litigation hearing. Instead, it is a hearing against the order of the high court and they have mentioned nothing about that order.”

Jufar Ahmed Farooqui, Chairman of Shia Central Waqf board in an official statement released on Thursday alleged that there are several inquiries going on against the present chairman and thus the step has been taken to divert attention and also to get more security from the government.

He also pointed out that Wasim Rizvi is chairman of the Shia Central Waqf Board for the past 10 years but he never raised these issues before and did not even appear during hearings of the case in 2010. Also, recently the Uttar Pradesh government had agreed to recommend a CBI probe into the working of the Board on the basis of a report by a Central Waqf Council member.

“While we will give our reply in the court, this step is certainly to get publicity and mislead, following inquiries against him. As far as the Ayodhya dispute is concerned, we never shied away from any discussion but it should be between main parties with participation of the central government” said Farooqui in his statement

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