Ayodhya case: five SC lawyers refute reports of Muslim parties willing to give up claim over land

They say the Supreme Court–appointed mediation committee or Nirvana Akhara could be behind ‘leak’

Updated - October 18, 2019 08:24 pm IST

Published - October 18, 2019 02:03 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

In this file photo, devotees stand outside a Ram temple at Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas workshop in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.

In this file photo, devotees stand outside a Ram temple at Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas workshop in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.

Five Supreme Court lawyers issued a joint statement on Friday, refuting media reports that the Muslim parties were willing to relinquish their claim over the Ramjanmabhoomi–Babri Masjid land and said the Supreme Court–appointed mediation committee or Nirvana Akhara could be behind the “leak”.

The statement was issued by the advocates for the various Muslim parties, including the U.P. Sunni Central Waqf Board. The advocates are Ejaz Maqbool, Shakil Ahmed Syed, M.R. Shamshad, Irshad Ahmad and Fuzail Ahmad Ayyubi.

On Wednesday, parties engaged in the mediation told the media that a settlement had been filed in the Supreme Court . They claimed that a consensus had been struck among certain Hindus and Muslim parties, in which the Sunni Waqf Board was said to have raised no objection to the acquisition of the disputed Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site by the government. The development came on the last day of the Supreme Court hearing of the Ayodhya appeals.

This was followed by news reports attributing to Shahid Rizvi, advocate on record, that the waqf board was willing to withdraw the claim on site of the Babri Masjid.

The lawyers’ statement contend that the “recent attempts before the mediation committee were not representative”.

The statement said only a “limited” number of persons attended the mediation — “Dharma Das of Nirvani Akhara, Zufar Faruqui of Sunni Central Waqf Board and Chakrapani of Hindu Maha Sabha. We are also made to understand that the two other persons interested may attended the mediation”.

The statement by the lawyers reasoned that it was hard to accept that mediation would have worked, as certain stakeholders across the religious divide had openly resisted attempts to make amends and settle the decades-old feud over the ownership of the disputed land.

“The leak to the press may have been inspired by either the mediation committee directly or those who participated in the said mediation proceedings or participants. It needs emphasis that such a leak was in total violation of the orders of the Supreme Court that had directed that such proceedings should remain confidential,” the statement said.

“The timing of the leak to the press and its confirmation by Mr. Rizvi on October 17, 2019, on the very date when the hearing closed seem to have been well thought out,” the statement said.

“Accordingly, we must make it absolutely clear that we, the appellants before Supreme Court, do not accept the proposal made, which has been leaked to the press, nor the procedure by which the mediation has taken place, nor the manner in which a withdrawal of the claim has been suggested as a compromise,” the statement said.

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