Doors open for out-of-court settlement of Ayodhya dispute
The Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board on Tuesday decided to challenge in the Supreme Court the Allahabad High Court verdict on the Babri Masjid title suits. At the same time, it has kept the doors open for an out-of-court settlement by authorising its chairman to discuss with members if any such proposal is sent to it.
The original suit (OS) number 4 of 1989 of the Waqf Board, one of the four main parties involved in the Babri title suit, was rejected for being time-barred by the Special Bench of the Allahabad High Court in its judgment on September 30. The High Court, however, ruled that one-third of the disputed land in Ayodhya would be given to the Waqf Board.
The unanimous decision to file an appeal in the Supreme Court was taken at an emergency meeting of the Waqf Board here. It was presided over by its chairman Zufar Ahmed Farooqui. All the 13 members of the Board were present. The meeting was held in the backdrop of efforts by different parties and individuals to find a negotiated settlement to the Ayodhya imbroglio.
On the prospect of a proposal for an out-of-court settlement, the members authorised the chairman to present it before the Board members.
More importantly, the Board ruled that no individual had been authorised to carry out negotiations on its behalf with the other parties and individuals for finding an amicable solution to the dispute. The Board ruling came in the backdrop of the move initiated by the oldest surviving litigant, Mohammed Hashim Ansari, who met Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad chairman Mahant Gyan Das in Ayodhya on Sunday. Mr. Ansari was reported to have said after the meeting that he was “authorised” by the Waqf Board for negotiating the possibility of an out-of-court settlement.
His claim had been denied by Waqf Board counsel Zafaryab Jilani.
The 90-year-old Mr. Ansari was reported to have said in Ayodhya on Monday that talks between Hindus and Muslims would start within the next fortnight.
In fact, the head of the Nirmohi Akhara — which has also been given one-third of the disputed land as per the Allahabad High Court verdict — Mahant Bhaskar Das, was reported to have said in Ayodhya on Tuesday that he was willing to open negotiations with the representatives of “Ram lalla virajman” for building a Ram temple in Ayodhya.