Alternative Mosque Site 25km Away From Ram Temple Land, Babri Litigants May Approach SC Again

A file photo of the Supreme Court.

A file photo of the Supreme Court.

The Sunni Central Waqf Board has called for a meeting on February 24 to take a call on the plot allocated in Dhannipur village near the Lucknow-Gorakhpur highway.


Qazi Faraz Ahmad

Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to allot for a mosque in Ayodhya nearly 25km away from the Ram Temple complex has led to dissatisfaction among several original litigants in the title dispute case, prompting calls for the Sunni Waqf Board to knock on the doors of the Supreme Court once again.

The UP Cabinet had on Wednesday cleared a proposal to allot a five-acre plot, in line with the SC judgment, at Dhannipur village in Ayodhya’s Sohawal tehsil after the Centre announced the formation of a Ram temple trust. The plot is barely 200m from the Lucknow-Gorakhpur highway.

Litigants say the land chosen for the mosque was too far from the town and the decision should be reconsidered, or they would not be left with any option but to approach the Supreme Court once again. The Sunni Central Waqf Board has called for a key meeting on February 24 to take a call on the plot allocated in Dhannipur village.

“The site for Mosque is too far from Ayodhya. It will be difficult for people to go that far to offer Namaz. The decision should be reconsidered and a land must be allotted nearby,” Haji Mahboob, one of the litigants, told reporters.

Iqbal Ansari, the son of Hashim Ansari, one of the main parties in the case, also expressed his desire for land allocation in an area close to the temple-mosque site. “The allocated land is quite far from Ayodhya. It should be in the city making it convenient for the people. It is now up to the Sunni Waqf Board to accept the land or not.”

The Supreme Court had in November said in a landmark verdict that the ownership of the site claimed by both Hindus and Muslims was entirely with Ram Lalla or infant Lord Ram. It had ordered the government to set up a trust to oversee the construction of the temple, and allot five acres at a “prominent place” in Ayodhya for a mosque.

UP minister Srikant Sharma said the land chosen by the government is on the Lucknow highway, around 18 km from the district headquarters.

It was picked, sources said, because it is away from the periphery of "Panch kosi parikrama” and “14 kosi parikrama", or an area of some 42 km around Ayodhya town that devotees circle during religious events. Saints and seers had reportedly asked that the mosque site be assigned beyond the parikrama boundaries.

The government has said that the land was chosen because of several key issues, including the fact that it has close proximity with the highway, there is a dominant Muslim population in the vicinity and there is no history of any communal unrest in the area.

As per information, the UP government had presented two other options. The land in Dhannipur is near the shrine of Sufi saint Shah Gada Shah and is near Raunahi, which houses a noted Islmaic seminary of Barelvi sect as well, government officials said.

The Sunni Central Waqf Board has already stated that it will not challenge the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janambhumi case, although there have been reports that the All India Muslim Personal Law Board may move a curative petition.

Noted lawyer and AIMPLB secretary, Zafaryab Jilani said, “I am no more a lawyer for Sunni Waqf Board as their stand on the issue was different. AIMPLB might move a curative petition.”

Sunni cleric and AIMPLB member Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahali, however, offered a different view and said the issue should be put to rest now.

“With the formation of the Board for Ram Temple, the politics over the issue should be put to rest. It is up to the Sunni Waqf Board if they want to accept the land or not. The divisive politics on the issue must end now and focus should be one core issues like health, economic development and unemployment,” he said.

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