'Ayodhya land not negotiable'

NEW DELHI, AUG. 30. Any plan to hand over to any trust the 47 acres of land in Ayodhya acquired by the Centre through an ordinance in March 1993, is simply not feasible legally, said Mr. Syed Shahbuddin of the Babri Masjid Movement Coordination Committee. He pointed out that the land in question was under a ``mandatory restraint of the Supreme Court''. The Government ``as custodian'' has ``no authority'' to transfer even one square inch of the area to anyone, he added.

The only legal way the Government could get around this difficulty would be through petitioning the Supreme Court and get its approval to transfer some part of the land. But that would not satisfy the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, whose site plan for the Ram temple includes the land on which the Babri Masjid stood and not only the area outside that complex, he said.

The site of the demolished Babri Masjid was ``not negotiable''. The matter was in the court and a judicial verdict alone could lead to the land being handed over to the person or body in whose favour the court decides the title deed, Mr. Shahbuddin stated.

It was possible to resolve the dispute only if the VHP were to agree to change its site plan to keep out of it the land occupied by the Babri Masjid earlier, for, as he pointed out, the disputed Babri Masjid area constitutes less than 10 per cent of the total land needed for the proposed Ram temple. His plea was that the Government should not ``twist the law'' to help the VHP to execute its ``unlawful plan''.

UNI reports:

Alleging that the Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, was privy to the BJP leadership's plans regarding the Babri Masjid, the former Faizabad SSP, Mr. D. B. Roy, today claimed that he had attended a ``secret meeting'' of the senior BJP leaders in Lucknow a day before the demolition.