The All-India Muslim Personal Law Board today rejected the most recent proposals of the Kanchi Sankaracharya, Sri Jayendra Saraswati, to resolve the Ayodhya dispute and reiterated its stand that the site of the Babri Masjid was the property of Allah and could not be alienated by sale, gift or otherwise. According to the Board, the core of the proposals was an appeal to Indian Muslims to "donate the Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya," combined with "veiled threats" to "prepare themselves for giving up the mosques at Kashi and Mathura."
The Board's executive committee, which discussed the Acharya's original proposals sent on June 16 as well as his clarifications of July 1, felt that the latest proposals had left no scope for further discussions.
The gift of the Babri site as proposed by the Acharya would not promote communal harmony or national integration because such a gift "would be under duress" and not based on the principles of fair play, justice and constitutionalism, a formal resolution adopted by the Board's executive committee said. A fact sheet distributed to presspersons after the meeting gave details of the first meeting of the Sankaracharya with the Board president on June 7 and the June 16 letter, which had revealed the Acharya's proposals.
The seer's formula had five points, including the AIMPLB giving a no-objection statement regarding the construction of a temple on the undisputed and acquired land; a discussion on an amicable settlement over the disputed area after some time which could be given to the court for a final verdict; and the construction of a wall separating the disputed area from the undisputed area.
If a final settlement was reached on the undisputed area, the Sankaracharya and the Muslim Law Board president would ensure support for the same from other religious groups; and once there was a cordial understanding the Centre could be approached for its effective and time-bound implementation.
The Board found the Kanchi Acharya's formula lacking in material particulars and silent on some major issues, especially in respect of an assurance by Hindus to abide by the court verdict in the Ayodhya title suit. The Board therefore sought clarifications and received another letter dated July 1 from the Sankaracharya in which he had totally "resiled" from his earlier proposal which had left no scope for further discussions.
The resolution read out by counsel for the Board, Y.H. Muchala, said that the proposals for the settlement of the dispute must be within the parameters of the basic values of the Constitution, namely, the rule of law, secularism, equality of treatment to all without discrimination on the ground of race or religion and respect for the religious sentiments of the Muslims.
The Board went on record to say that it looked upon the Acharya's proposals of July 1 as thinly-veiled threats to Muslims to submit and surrender themselves unconditionally to all the unreasonable demands made by the Sangh Parivar.
Such proposals were unjust, unreasonable and totally inconsistent with the dignity, honour and self-respect of Muslims, it said.
The Board president, Rabey Hasni Nadvi, the general secretary, Maulana Nizamuddin, Abdul Rahim Qureshi, Syed Shahabuddin and Jafaryab Jilani, were among those present at the press conference.