NATIONAL

Muslims welcome Dalai Lama's offer

NEW DELHI, JAN. 10. Welcoming the initiative of the Tibetan spiritual leader, Dalai Lama, for holding talks to settle the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid issue, Muslim organisations today called for a "just, balanced and equitable formula" for resolving the dispute.

Syed Shahabuddin, former MP and president of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM), urged the Dalai Lama to appeal to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) to respect the rule of law and to propose to the Centre to adopt the middle-path for resolving the dispute.

"The AIMMM is firmly of the view that any out-of-court compromise must be based on give-and-take and deal with the vital interests of both sides on terms of equality, parity and symmetry. No compromise can be acceptable if it gives everything to the VHP right away and asks the Muslims to wait for the judicial verdict or take something in return. Also no compromise can be effected by pressure and threat,'' Mr. Shahabuddin said in a statement.

While the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board was committed to accepting a judicial verdict even if it went against the Muslims, the VHP was committed to reject the verdict if it went against them, he said. He said the Muslims had never refused to negotiate for an out-of-court settlement based on the revision of the Mandir site plan to exclude the Babri Masjid site and the construction of the proposed Ram temple next to the Masjid site even utilising part of the disputed land but the VHP had been `adamant' on the Masjid site, which was not negotiable.

The Islamic Council of India said though the court's judgment was the only solution, the hindrances in its implementation could not be ignored. In a statement, Qari Mohammad Mian Mazhari, chairman of the council, appealed to all Muslim organisations and leaders to consider the Government's proposal for talks with an open mind. He urged the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, to include all the parties concerned along with the representatives of Muslim organisations, Ulemas and Mashaikhs in the dialogue process.

Expressing satisfaction over the positive reaction of the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, Maulana Syed Ahmed Bukhari, to the dispute, the Council chief expressed the hope that he would play a leading role in resolving the dispute.

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