The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has decided to file a petition seeking a review of the 9 November verdict of the Supreme Court on the Ayodhya dispute. The verdict had cleared the way for the construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site.
Addressing a press conference after a three-hour long meeting of the Board in Lucknow, Zafaryab Jilani, member of the Babri Masjid Action Committee, said that members of the Muslim body unanimously decided to file a review petition.
Jilani said that the Supreme Court judgment was full of contradictions as the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) report could not prove that a temple stood at the site of the mosque. Adding that an alternative land was not acceptable , he said that a mosque should be built on the same 2.77 acres.
"The land of the mosque belongs to Allah and under Sharia law, it cannot be given to anybody," Jilani told reporters. "The board has also categorically refused to take a five-acre plot of land in Ayodhya in lieu of the mosque. The board is of the view that there cannot be any alternative to the mosque," he added.
Answering questions about Iqbal Ansari's decision not to file a review petition, Jilani, also the general secretary of AIMPLB, said that the Board represented the entire Muslim community and the decision was taken keeping in mind the entire community as the judgment did not offer restitution. He also confirmed that senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan will continue to represent the Board.
Earlier, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind’s chief Arshad Madani had given a go-ahead to the decision. Madani said that the Supreme Court itself had said that the mosque was not built by demolishing a temple. "Despite the fact that we already know that our review petition will be dismissed 100 percent, we must file a review petition. It is our right," Madani was quoted by ANI.
The apex court also awarded the Muslim parties five acres of land in Ayodhya for the construction of a mosque, a decision on the acceptance of which will also be taken in the Sunday meeting.
The meeting was attended by All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi. Expressing dismay over the five-acre land reward, he told PTI, "I speak for my party, we do not want this ‘khairat’ (donation or charity). Our fight was for a legal right, for a Babri Masjid. Our fight was not to get this piece of land."
Muslim parties, including Sunni Waqf Board, which was among the litigants in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, met AIMPLB general secretary Maulana Wali Rahmani ahead of the meet. Jilani had called a meeting of all litigants in the case to weigh in their views on the prospect of a review petition.
Soon after the verdict, the AIMPLB had expressed dissatisfaction. "The Ayodhya verdict has a lot of contradictions. We will seek a review as we are not satisfied with the verdict," Jilani had said after the judgment was pronounced.
The Sunni Waqf Board had earlier said that it will not file any review or curative petition on the verdict. “Sunni Waqf Board respects the decision of the Supreme Court and it will not be going for any review petition in this case,” Sunni Waqf Board chairman Zafar Farooqui said.
Iqbal Ansari, whose father Hashim Ansari was one of the first and oldest litigants in the case, has decided not to challenge the Ayodhya verdict. The Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board and Muslim litigant Haji Mehboob also accepted the verdict and there was no scope or ground to challenge it.
Mohammad Umar, a third Muslim litigant who met Jilani in Lucknow on Saturday, said that he would abide by whatever decision the AIMPLB takes at its meeting in Lucknow on Sunday. “There are some inconsistencies in the verdict and I feel there is a scope for correction. I will go by whatever my seniors in the AIMPLB tell me to do,” he told Hindustan Times.
AIMPLB Executive Committee Meeting ,President of Board Maulana Rabe Hasani NADWI is present along with Gen Sec Maulana Wali Rahmani pic.twitter.com/Als81POHxF
— Arif Masood Official (@arifmasoodbpl) November 17, 2019
In the verdict, the Supreme Court had observed that “exclusion of the Muslims from worship and possession took place on the intervening night between 22/23 December 1949 when the mosque was desecrated by the installation of Hindu idols” and “the ouster of the Muslims on that occasion was not through any lawful authority but through an act which was calculated to deprive them of their place of worship”.
The AIMPLB was not a party to the title suit case. It would need the backing at least one of the eight Muslim litigants to file a review petition.
The dispute over the site of Babri Masjid, a mosque built during the time of the Mughul emperor Babur, dates back centuries with Hindus contending that the invading Muslim armies had razed an existing Ram temple to erect the mosque.
However, it turned into a legal dispute in 1885 when a mahant went to court seeking permission to build a canopy outside the mosque. The plea was dismissed. In December 1949, unidentified miscreants spirited an idol of Lord Ram into the mosque. The structure was demolished by a large mob of kar sevaks on 6 December, 1992.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Nov 17, 2019 17:50:28 IST