Plaintiff in the Ayodhya land dispute case, Iqbal Ansari, on Friday said he respects the decision of the Supreme Court to form a mediation panel, but objected to the fact that no one from Ayodhya had been included in it.
“We want the Supreme Court to do its job. I respect the Supreme Court’s decision forming a mediation panel. But my only objection is that there is nobody from Ayodhya in the panel. There are sants, maulvis and other intellectuals (in Ayodhya). They should have been included in the panel to express the sentiments of local people. There is also no one from any party of the case. People in Ayodhya are upset because of this,” he said.
Ansari said the decision should come through any medium, and that he would take part in mediation if the panel calls him for discussion.
Mahant Ram Das of Nirmohi Akhara, one of the main litigants in the case, also welcomed the setting up of a panel of mediators, but said it would have been better had a Hindu judge, connected with the case, been included in it.
He added that besides mediation efforts, the court hearing should go on simultaneously so that the case does not get prolonged if the litigants are not satisfied. “Earlier, some efforts on this line had been made, but to no avail… therefore, the hearing should also go on,” he stressed.
Ram Das also said the seers of Ayodhya needed to agree to this move.
Top functionaries of the RSS and VHP did not react to the development. VHP spokesperson in Ayodhya Sharad Sharma said, “Sants respect the court’s order. But the way more than a dozen such attempts of mediation have failed, it creates an apprehension that the fresh move of mediation would see the same result. We will not accept anything other than Ram temple at Ram Janmabhoomi. Since no party will agree to step back, what will be the result of dialogue?”
Former VHP leader Praveen Togadia said the Narendra Modi government should bring an ordinance for construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board welcomed the Supreme Court’s move for mediation, saying it would be most befitting that the matter is resolved through negotiations.
With PTI inputs