The supply of 5-acre land attracts strong reactions from the Muslim side

LUCKNOW/DELHI: The UP Sunni Central Waqf Board on Wednesday retained an official response to the cabinet offer of a 5-acre plot for the construction of a mosque at least until February 24, but its lawyer and the Committee Coordinator Babri Masjid Action, Zafaryab Jilani, made no secret of his disappointment with the government that chose a location 25 km from the Ram Janmabhoomi site.

Jilani said that the location of the 5 acres allocated in the village of Dhannipur in Sohawal tehsil does not conform to what the Supreme Court ordered in its November 9 ruling in the lawsuit for the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title.

In all the court documents that were part of the claim for the title, Ayodhya was a small city, a qasbah of Faizabad. This Ayodhya cannot match the new district created by the government, Jilani said. Changing the name of a city and extending its municipal boundaries does not prove that the land offered is still in Ayodhya.

Iqbal Ansari, whose father Hashim Ansari was one of the original litigants, said that the land that the government had offered for the mosque should be used to build a dharamshala for devotees who come to Ayodhya, with the ease of free accommodation and lodging.

The president of the Sunni Waqf board, Zufar Faruqi, who is currently abroad, was not available for comment. The board's CEO, Syed Mohammad Shoeb, told TOI that members would decide on a response and an action plan at a meeting on February 24.

A meeting of the Sunni waqf board is scheduled for February 24, where issues related to waqf properties and legal matters were discussed. Ayodhya was not on the agenda, but given recent events, the issue of land allocation could also be discussed at the meeting, Shoeb said. The board could also convene an emergency meeting before February 24 once the president returns to the city.

On November 26 of last year, an eight-member meeting of the Sunni Waqf board decided not to file a petition for review against Ayodhya's verdict.

In Delhi, the Muslim Personal Law Board of All India called the UP government's offer unnecessary, and said accepting the 5-acre plot to build a sanctuary there instead of Babri Masjid would be like rubbing our wounds.

Maulana, president of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, said that the site where Babri Masjid existed is a mosque according to Shariah and will remain a mosque until the day of resurrection, regardless of the form and name given, because No individual and party have the right to withdraw their claim from a mosque to any alternative.

Accepting land in the name of a mosque goes against the principles of Islam established in the Shariah. Therefore, this allocation of land by the UP government is unacceptable. Although the Sunni Waqf board is free to make its decisions, in our opinion, it should not accept the offer. This is unacceptable, Madani added.

The Muslim secretary of the personal law board said that as law-abiding citizens, the Muslim side had chosen silence after the Supreme Court verdict rejected their claim on the site in dispute. However, on the subject of an alternative plot, we have always maintained that the Sunni Waqf board should not accept it since this case was never an alternative mosque.

Rahmani confirmed that this is the official position of the Muslim personal law board.

Attorney Jilani, who is also an executive member of the Muslim personal law board, said the land allocation was not in accordance with the Acquisition of certain areas in the Ayodhya Act of 1993 and the Ismail Farooqi case of 1994. In the case, it has been clearly mentioned that the 67-acre plot will be used to plan a temple, a mosque, a library, a museum and services for pilgrims. Any remaining area will be given to the owners. The Supreme Court had confirmed this in the Farooqi case of 1994.