Hitting out at the All India Muslim Personal Law Board and the Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind for their decision to seek a review of the Ayodhya verdict, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Sunday said they are trying to create an “atmosphere of division and confrontation” after the matter was settled by the Supreme Court.
He also said for the Muslims the important issue is not just “Babri (mosque) but barabri (equality)” in the areas of education and economic and social upliftment. In an interview to PTI , Mr. Naqvi said in a democracy everyone has a right to have an opinion and liberty to approach courts. However, he asserted that in an ideal scenario attempts should not be made to entangle the decades-old complex issue which has been solved by the unanimous verdict of the Supreme Court.
“All sections of the society have welcomed and respected the Supreme Court verdict. But if some people are unable to digest the fact that the unity has been strengthened after this verdict, it is sad,” he said. Sources in the Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind said last week that the draft of the review petition against Supreme Court’s Ayodhya verdict is ready and the plea will be filed by them on December 3 or 4. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has also said the review petition will be filed before December 9.
Slamming the AIMPLB and the Jamiat, the Minister said, “They are trying to create an atmosphere of division and confrontation which will not be accepted by any society,” and added, “These isolated voices cannot be that of the whole society. The feeling of all sections of the society is that this matter has been settled by the court and we should now accept it and move forward.”
‘Did not agree to compromise before verdict’
“If they (AIMPLB and Jamiat) were so serious, why did they not agree to a compromise when the court earlier had asked them to solve the matter through dialogue,” the senior BJP leader said. The Minority Affairs Minister said both the Muslim side and the Hindu side had said prior to the Supreme Court verdict that it would be acceptable to them. “Even at the meeting that was held at my house where representatives from various sections of society were present, it was said in one voice that whatever be the verdict it will be accepted and honoured,” Mr. Naqvi said.
As part of the RSS and the BJP’s efforts to reach out to Muslims ahead of the Ayodhya verdict, a meeting with the community’s clerics, academics and prominent persons was organised at the Minister’s residence ahead of the verdict, with participants stressing on maintaining social harmony and unity. “Initially they (AIMPLB and Jamiat) accepted and honoured the verdict but I don’t know what is the reason and what divine enlightenment they got, that they are taking an opposite stand to what they had taken,” he said.
On whether this could open a fresh chapter in the dispute, he said those who want to “open a chapter will be able to do it only in their homes” as the society and the country will not accept it and for them the matter is closed. The Supreme Court, in its verdict, said the entire 2.77 acres of disputed land should be handed over to the deity Ram Lalla, who was one of the three litigants. The five-judge Constitution bench also directed the Centre to allot a 5-acre plot to the Sunni Waqf Board in Ayodhya to build a mosque.
Asked if the Muslim side should accept the land, Mr. Naqvi said he cannot comment on it as it was a court issue. “It is up to the parties (in the case who have been given the land) whether to accept it or not. It depends on them. As far as Ayodhya is concerned there are a number of mosques there,” he said. On some sections of the Muslim community expressing disappointment with the Supreme Court decision, the Minister said this was a civil suit in which a decision has been made and it is binding on the concerned parties.
‘Not seen as Hindu vs Muslim’
“This issue should not be seen as Hindu vs Muslim,” he asserted. Mr. Naqvi also hit out at the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi for his remarks that Supreme Court is not “infallible”, saying this country runs on Constitution and not on anybody’s whims and fancies. “This country runs on Constitution, on law. Nobody can apply his own law and do a post-mortem of the verdict,” he said, hitting out at Mr. Owaisi.
Mr. Naqvi hailed people for accepting the verdict and rejecting attempts to mislead. “I salute the people of the country that they rejected attempts to mislead and will do so in the future as they want that this matter is closed forever,” he said. He also hailed efforts ahead of the verdict to reach out to both Hindus and Muslims to maintain peace.
Both AIMPLB and Jamiat are expected to file a review petition this week even as the Sunni Central Waqf Board decided on Tuesday that it would not do so. The Waqf board said it was yet to take a call on whether to accept a 5-acre alternative plot for a mosque.