While the VHP and Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas welcomed the Centre’s decision to move the Supreme Court seeking permission to return the “excess/superfluous land” acquired in Ayodhya to its “original owners”, Nirmohi Akhara, a party in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri mosque title suit, said it would challenge the move if the government does not clarify the objective of taking back the undisputed land.
“If the government takes the land without telling the purpose, we will challenge the move in the court. Nirmohi Akhara’s land also falls in that undisputed area, and that part should be given back to us. We have not taken compensation against acquisition of that land. There was Sumitra Bhawan, Saligram Mandir, Sankatmochan Mandir and a Katha Pandap, which were demolished after acquisition,” Mahant Ram Das of Nirmohi Akhara told The Indian Express.
“The government was supposed to take all the parties (in the case) into confidence before making the move. But no discussion was done with us,” he added.
On September 30, 2010, the Allahabad High Court ordered a three-way division of the disputed 2.77 acres of the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi site, giving a third each to the Nirmohi Akhara sect, Sunni Central Wakf Board, UP, and Ramlalla Virajman, the infant Ram who sits where he was placed under a tarpaulin canopy by the kar sevaks who demolished the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992.
“Government of India can take that land back, but the question is that the land will be used for what purpose? For any government plan or to give that land to somebody? Temples are built by sants, nyas or a trust. Government does not have the power to build temple,” Ram Das said.
He added that the land was acquired under Ayodhya Act with a proposal to develop a grand temple, a mosque at some distance, a school and some public utilities.
Meanwhile, Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, a body formed to oversee the work of the proposed Ram temple in Ayodhya, welcomed the Centre’s move. Nyas member Ram Vilas Vedanti said, “Nyas had earlier requested the Supreme Court to give undisputed land back to it. The Kalyan Singh government had acquired 67 acres and given it to Nyas and that land is undisputed. If that undisputed land is given to Nyas, we will develop it as a tourist area by building dharmasala, atithishala (guest house) and a Laxman temple. Construction material is lying there. Layout for the proposed development is also ready. The land should be given to Nyas at the earliest.”
Vishwa Hindu Parishad also welcomed the Centre’s move. VHP working president Alok Kumar said in a statement, “The Nyas had obtained the land for construction of Shri Ram Mandir. The Union government had acquired 67.703 acres in 1993. This included the land of Ram Janam Bhumi Nyas. The land under litigation, i.e. where the disputed structure existed, admeasures only 0.313 acres. All other land including of Ram Janam Bhumi Nyas is not under any dispute. The Hon’ble Supreme Court had said in M Ismail case that the superfluous land shall be returned to its owners. The VHP hopes that the Hon’ble Supreme Court shall expeditiously decide the application filed by Govt of India.”
Iqbal Ansari, a litigant whose father late Hashim Ansari was the oldest litigant in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title suit, said he had no objection to the Centre’s move. “The government had already acquired that land. I have no objection if the government uses it for any purpose. Our case is for Babri mosque that is pending in the Supreme Court,” he said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines