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Muslim Parties Ready to Drop Ayodhya Land Claim to Save Mosques Elsewhere, Mediation Panel Tells SC

The panel is headed by former apex court judge FMI Kalifulla and also comprises spiritual guru and founder of the Art of Living foundation Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate and renowned mediator Sriram Panchu.

News18.com

Updated:October 17, 2019, 8:12 AM IST
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Muslim Parties Ready to Drop Ayodhya Land Claim to Save Mosques Elsewhere, Mediation Panel Tells SC
Illustration by Mir Suhail/News18

New Delhi: The Supreme Court-appointed mediation panel to resolve the Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute in Ayodhya is believed to have filed a report in the apex court on Wednesday in a sealed cover which sources said is a "sort of a settlement" between some Hindu and the Muslim parties.

Sources close to the mediation panel said the Sunni Waqf Board, Nirvani Akhada, Nirmohi Akhada, Ram Janmabhoomi Punruddhar Samiti and some other Hindu parties are in favour of settling the contentious land dispute.

The parties have sought settlement under the provisions of The Places of Worship Act, 1991 which provides that no dispute with regard to any mosque or other religious places, which have been constructed after demolition of temples and are existing as in 1947, would be raised in a court of law. The Act, however, excludes the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute from its purview.

Sources said Muslim parties have suggested that the land in question can be given in acquisition to the government, and the Waqf Board can submit a select list of ASI mosques which can be made available to them for prayers.

However, two main stakeholders - VHP-backed Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas and Ram Lalla deity (suit filed by the deity includes Nyas as one of the plaintiffs), and and six other Muslim parties which have filed appeals are not party to the proposed “settlement”, making it a partial, if not a weak deal.

The Supreme Court late on Wednesday issued a notice saying the bench will sit in chambers, where parties involved are not allowed, to conduct proceedings on the report of the mediation panel on Thursday.

The mediation panel is headed by former apex court judge FMI Kalifulla and also comprises spiritual guru and founder of the Art of Living foundation Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate and renowned mediator Sriram Panchu.

Ravi Shankar wrote on Twitter, "I thank the Supreme Court for the confidence they have placed in the mediation. I thank all the parties for their sincere and tireless participation. The entire mediation process happened with a sense of brotherhood and understanding which is a testament to the values of this nation".

A senior advocate appearing in the dispute in the apex court said since the hearing has concluded, the report which the media is speaking about, has no value. Some of lawyers appearing for both the Hindu and Muslim sides, said they have not been informed by the apex court about the filing of the report by the panel.

The report, sources said, has taken into consideration the grievances of the Muslim parties that the government should take steps to renovate the existing mosques in Ayodhya and a suitable space be provided to them in the religious town to built a mosque.

Further, the sources said that a Hindu religious institution has agreed to part with its land in Ayodhya for construction of mosque there. On September 16, a fresh plea was made by a Hindu and a Muslim party seeking resumption of the mediation process for amicable settlement of the land dispute in Ayodhya by the mediation panel.

The top court on Wednesday reserved its verdict in the title dispute after a marathon hearing of 40 days.

Fourteen appeals have been filed in the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among the three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

On December 6, 1992, the Babri Masjid, constructed at the disputed site in the 16th Century by Shia Muslim Mir Baqi, was demolished.

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