Shia Waqf Board open to building a mosque away from Babri Masjid site
New Delhi: The Shia Central Waqf Board of Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that it was amenable to building a mosque in a Muslim-dominated area, at a reasonable distance from the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site.
It also asked the court to constitute a committee headed by a retired judge to help negotiate a peaceful settlement to the dispute.
The board said that rather than partition the site in Ayodhya between the various claimants, the proposed mosque could be located at a reasonable distance from the disputed site to avoid any clashes in the future.
The Shia Central Waqf Board of Uttar Pradesh is one of the parties challenging an Allahabad high court verdict of September 2010, laying down the specifics for partitioning of land in the Ayodhya dispute.
In a 30-page affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court on Tuesday, the board argued that since the mosque was a Shia waqf property, it alone was entitled to negotiate with other stakeholders to arrive at a settlement.
The affidavit comes days after the apex court fast-tracked the case to be heard by a three-judge bench.
The board’s suggestion is for the committee to be headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court and comprising two retired judges of the Allahabad high court, the chief minister of UP (or his nominee) and a nominee from the Prime Minister’s Office. Once such a committee is set up, the board will submit its proposals before it for an amicable settlement to the long-running dispute.
The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court had ruled in favour of partitioning the disputed 2.77-acre land equally among three parties—the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla (infant Lord Ram), represented by the Hindu Mahasabha.
A civil suit for deciding the title of the property on which the Babri Masjid stood before it was demolished on 6 December 1992 had been filed before the high court. The apex court stayed this decision in 2011.
In July, chief justice J.S. Khehar set up a three-judge bench comprising justices Dipak Misra, Ashok Bhushan and S. A. Nazeer to hear the appeals challenging the high court verdict. The bench was set up on a plea by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy who wanted the matter speeded up.
The appeals will be heard next on 11 August.