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Two days after the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Waqf Board reportedly proposed to withdraw its claim over the Babri Masjid site at Ayodhya, lawyers for the Muslim parties have issued a statement rejecting the same.
A statement issued through Ejaz Maqbool, SA Syed, MR Shamshad, Irshad Ahmed, and Fuzail Ahmdd Ayyubi – Advocates-on-Record for the various Muslim parties in the Ayodhya case – states that the appellants were taken aback by reports to this effect. Statements were attributed to Advocate-on-Record for the Sunni Waqf Board, Shahid Rizvi, that the Board was willing to withdraw its claim on the site of the Babri Masjid.
Just before the Supreme Court concluded the 40-day hearing in the Ayodhya case, the Mediation Committee set up earlier this year had submitted its final report to the Constitution Bench. The report outlined a settlement agreement, wherein the Sunni Waqf Board had agreed to withdraw its claim over the Mosque site, subject to four conditions.
The four conditions were that he UP government rebuild 22 mosques lying in dilapidated condition, strictly implement the Places of Religious Worship Act 1991, allow Muslims to pray in all mosques under the Central government’s Archaeological Survey of India, and that the Waqf board be allowed to build a mosque at a suitable place other than the disputed site.
The lawyers of the Muslim parties states that this news was leaked out either by the Mediation Committee or the Nirmohi Akhara, one of the parties to the case. This leak was in total violation of the Supreme Court’s orders that the proceedings of the mediation be kept confidential, the statement reads. It goes on to state,
“The timing of the leak to the press and its confirmation by Mr. Rizvi on 17th October 2019 on the very date when the hearing closed seems to have been well thought out. Mr. Panchu was also in the premises of the Supreme Court on 16th of October and was communicating in the premises to Mr. Zafar Faruqui.”
The Muslim parties have also taken objection to the manner in which the mediation proposed by the Supreme Court was undertaken. The statement reads,
“It is difficult to accept that any mediation could have been done under the circumstances especially when the main Hindu parties had openly stated that they were not open to any settlement and all the other Muslim Appellants made it clear, but, they would not do so.”
The statement also notes that Senior Advocate Sriram Panchu, one of the members of the Mediation Panel, had written to CJI Gogoi seeking protection for Sunni Waqf Board representative, Zafar Faruqui.
“Mr. Sriram Panchu, Sr. Advocate and mediation committee member had sent a communication to the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India that protection be granted to Mr. Zufar Faruqui and the State of U P was directed to make arrangements for him. On 16th of Oct, while the case was being heard, a further communication was received from Mr. Panchu on behalf of Mediation Committee, but that was not disclosed.”
The Muslim parties conclude that they do not accept the proposal of the Sunni Waqf Board or the procedure adopted by the Mediation Committee.