Babri Litigants Not Invited to Foundation Laying Ceremony of New Ayodhya Mosque

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NEW AYODHYA MASJID

The ceremony being held on Republic Day will begin with unfurling of tricolour followed by tree plantation

Srawan Shukla | Clarion India

LUCKNOW – The foundation laying ceremony of the mosque on 5 acres of land in Dhannipur village in Ayodhya on the Republic Day has already triggered a controversy after the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation (IICF) denying invitation to litigants and office-bearers/members of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), an important representative body of Muslims in India.

The IICF has been entrusted with the task of constructing Ayodhya mosque by the Sunni Central Waqf Board after the Supreme Court mandated 5 acres of land to the Board for construction of a mosque in Ayodhya.

The IICF Secretary Athar Husain said that a very small gathering will be present during the foundation laying ceremony in the village. “We have invited only a few locals. Besides, all nine trustees of the Foundation, Gram Pradhans of Dhannipur and Raunahi and about 50 to 100 people will be there during the ceremony.

The ceremony will begin with unfurling of tricolour followed by tree plantation by all nine trustees. A Lucknow-based laboratory has already collected soil samples and sent it for testing. A symbolic foundation laying ceremony will take place on Tuesday while the actual digging for laying the foundation will commence after the lab report and receiving drawings from the Chief Architect S.M. Akhter after approval of maps from the Ayodhya Development Authority.

What has raised many eyebrows on Tuesday’s programme is IICF not extending invitation to litigants and AIMPLB office-bearers, who spearheaded the campaign to save Babri mosque and fought court battles for many decades.

When asked about the reasons, the IICF Secretary said that “they have no role to play in the construction of the mosque.”

Majority of Muslims in the state feel that the Sunni Waqf Board was working under pressure from the BJP government. All-India Babri Masjid Action Committee Convenor and AIMPLB Board Executive Member Zafaryab Jilani has already alleged that the Sunni Board Chairman Zafar Farooqui is dancing to the tune of the BJP government. “He was given an extension by the BJP government to continue for the purpose of beginning the construction of a mosque at the allotted land,” he charged.

Jilani’s allegations were vindicated on Monday when the Allahabad High Court set aside the Yogi Adityanath government’s order dated September 30, 2020 to extend the tenure of the Sunni Waqf Board Chairman and appointed the Principal Secretary, Minority, as its Administrator. The High Court has also directed the state government to hold elections before February 28.

 Talking to Clarion India, Jilani reiterated AIMPLB’s November 17, 2019 stand that Muslims in India will not accept any other land for Babri mosque. The Supreme Court in a controversial judgement on November 9, 2019, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi handed over the hotly contested site to those who were blamed for its demolition on December 6, 1992.

The court decreed that the land measuring 2.77 acres be handed over to a trust and ordered the government of India to create such a trust whose job would be to build a Ram temple. The court also ordered the government to give an alternative 5 acres of land at another place to the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board for the purpose of building a mosque as a replacement for the demolished Babri mosque.

“The construction of the mosque at Dhannipur on the 5 acres of land allotted by the Supreme Court is against Shariat and Waqf Act,” he said.

Shariat does not allow barter of mosque land, Jilani stated. “I doubt any devout Muslim will ever offer Namaz there,” he said.

Iqbal Ansari, son of late Hashim Ansari, the oldest litigant in the Babri case, is another important person who has not been extended an invitation. “I would have gone there had they invited me. I was the first to be invited for the Ram Janamboomi foundation laying ceremony,” he told Clarion India.

Ansari alleged that a few so-called Muslim leaders, who had made no contribution in resolving the dispute, are running their shops in the name of the construction of mosque at Dhannipur village. “It would have been better if a consensus was obtained before laying the foundation,” he rued.

However, majority of Muslim leaders and clerics are of the view that they would not have gone there to be a part of foundation laying ceremony even if they were invited. Jilani pointed out that those constructing the mosque should understand that when the AIMPLB is against building a mosque at the state government allotted land then what sanctity the structure will have.

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