Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi title suit litigant Iqbal Ansari on Thursday expressed his displeasure at not being consulted or invited to join a trust set up by the Sunni Central Waqf Board the day before to facilitate the construction of a mosque on five-acre land in Ayodhya district’s Dhannipur village. The trust has been named the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation.
The Uttar Pradesh government allotted the land earlier this year following the Supreme Court’s directions regarding an alternative site for a mosque and other facilities. In the verdict last year, the court had permitted the construction of a Ram temple on the land in Ayodhya where the Babri Masjid stood before its demolition by “kar sevaks” in 1992.
Iqbal Ansari is the son of Hashim Ansari, who was the oldest litigant in the title suit case. He told The Indian Express, “We have fought the case for 70 years and have taken on enmity with people in Ayodhya and spent everything we had in the case…Now, when the mosque is being built, we are not even consulted. We aren’t even asked if we want to be part of the trust. If I want to be a part of the trust comes later, but the Waqf Board should have at least asked us.”
Responding to Ansari’s allegation, the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation’s spokesperson, Athar Hussain, said, “The Supreme Court gave this land to the Sunni Waqf Board, and it is the decision of the Board to decide who will be part of the trust. I accept that Ansari sahabhas emotional attachment with the case and the issue, but he never made any correspondence with the Board after the verdict in the matter came.”
While the names of nine members of the foundation were announced by the Waqf Board on Wednesday, six others are expected to be named soon. Sunni Central Waqf Board chairperson Zufar Ahmad Faruqi is the chief trustee and president of the foundation.
He is an agriculturist from Leherpur in Sitapur district, and one of the town’s big landowners.
Treasurer Adnan Farooq Shah is a member of the Waqf Board, and comes from a land-owning family in Gorakhpur district.
The foundation’s second treasurer, Faez Aftab, is an industrialist from Meerut. He manufactures sports goods and other products, and is also an exporter.
Secretary Athar Hussain belongs to a land-owning family in Lucknow. He is a political analyst, and makes regular appearances on TV news debates. Hussain also analyses state elections on news channels. Mohammad Junaid Siddiqui, who is part of the Waqf Board, is a member of the foundation, while the Board’s CEO Mohammad Shuaib has been named founder trustee.
Following the end of his term, his successor as CEO will take over his position on the trust.
Lucknow-based social activist Mohammad Rashid, who also comes from a land-owning family, is a trustee, along with Samajwadi Party leader Imran Ahmad, who lost the 2012 Assembly elections from Lakhimpur, and Sheikh Sauduzzaman.
Sauduzzaman is the mutawalli, or caretaker, of one of the biggest private Waqf properties in the state in Banda district.
He belongs to the Banda nawab’s family. Mohammad Shuaib said the nine members were selected at a virtual board meeting on July 19. “Some people were selected because they have been part of the mediation process.
The names were proposed by the Board members. People who were constructive in reaching a conclusion to the dispute over the land in Ayodhya and those who could keep politics away from the issue have been made part of the trust,” he added.
Asked how long it would take to build the mosque, Shuaib said, “First we need to get physical possession of the land that has been given to us. Then, we will draw out a plan regarding the mosque from an architect. There is no immediate deadline.”
Asked about the selection of the remaining six members of the trust, he said, “It will be decided in the next meeting, which will be held soon.”
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