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Babri Masjid row: Shias object to Waqf Board's SC plea, say 'disbanded' body has no locus standi

The Shia community has taken the plea made by the Shia Central Waqf Board of Uttar Pradesh that a mosque could be built at a reasonable distance from the disputed Ramjanmabhoomi site with a pinch of salt.

Reacting sharply to an affidavit filed by Shia Central Waqf Board chairman Syed Waseem Rizvi before the apex court, Majlis-e-Ulema-e-Hind, a Lucknow-based umbrella body of Shia clerics in India, has said that the Shia Waqf Board’s affidavit doesn’t have any legal standing according to the law of the land as well as Islam’s Sharia law.

The Shia Central Waqf Board, in an affidavit on 8 August, told the apex court that building a mosque in a Muslim dominated area at a reasonable distance from the Ramjanmabhoomi site was acceptable to it.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

"This affidavit is nothing but an attempt to create a rift between the Sunnis and the Shias, and it should be ignored. There are several contradictions in the affidavit that been given to the Supreme Court. It is an attempt to cover up the corruption within the Shia Central Waqf Board, which Maulana Kalbe Jawad (general secretary of Majlis-e-Ulema-e-Hind) has been raising for years," the members of the executive and advisory committee of Majlis-e-Ulema-e-Hind said in its statement.

Other objections raised by Majlis-e-Ulema-e-Hind

  • A mosque doesn’t have any owner. The Shia Central Waqf Board is just a caretaker and not an owner.
  • A mosque doesn’t have any sect — it's neither Shia nor Sunni. It’s the abode of Allah.
  • The caretaker of a mosque can be a Shia or a Sunni, therefore the Shia community or the Shia Waqf Board alone cannot say what is acceptable to Muslims at large.
  • The Shia Central Waqf Board is embroiled in corruption; so it doesn’t have any locus standi to make any such demand as it has done before the apex court.

Anjuman-e-Haideri, a religious trust of Shias that looks after the Waqf and the Imambara of Dargah Shah-e-Mardan, Delhi, has also questioned Rizvi’s affidavit.

"There are serious allegations against the Shia Central Waqf Board’s chairman Rizvi related to illegally occupying board's property and corruption in land dealings. The government has initiated an inquiry into it. Moreover, how can an individual can make a demand related to a mosque," Syed Bahadur Abbas Naqvi, general secretary, Anjuman-e-Haideri said.

According to a PTI report, the affidavit assumes significance as it has been submitted within few days of the apex court agreeing to fast track the hearing on a batch of appeals challenging the Allahabad High Court verdict on the land dispute in the case. The Shia Central Waqf Board is one of the parties in the pending appeals in the apex court.

The board also sought time from the Supreme Court to set up a committee to explore an amicable settlement on Ayodhya dispute through negotiations, claiming, in the affidavit, that Babri Masjid was its property.

“This affidavit by the Shia Central Waqf Board is an example of political posturing and opportunism. It’s up to the Supreme Court whether to accept it or not. But, we should accept the apex court’s decision on Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case. Even, if reconciliation process is followed, as the Supreme Court suggested, it should be done under the monitoring and control of the Chief Justice of India and the terms of reference should be set by the Supreme Court. Forget about any individual’s view in this case," Zafar Sareshwala, Chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University, told Firstpost.

“Moreover, credibility in such matters is extremely important. The Shia Central Waqf Board has been disbanded by the Yogi Adityanath government and its chairman Rizvi has already been charge-sheeted. So, the sudden raising of this issue by Rizvi is questionable,” he said.

Historically, the date of construction of the Babri Masjid is uncertain. The inscriptions on the Babri Masjid premises found in the 20tth century state that the mosque was built in 935 AH (year of Hijri) that is 1528–29 CE by Mir Baqi in accordance with the wishes of Babur.

“Historically, the Babri Masjid was a Sunni mosque. In 1945-46, the Shias filed a suit before the Faizabad district court, claiming that the mosque was built by the Shias, which was rejected. The court’s decision was in favour of Sunnis. But, after 72 years, this sudden statement by the Shia Central Waqf Board is surprising," Sareshwala added.

After the Shia Central Waqf Board made a plea to the Supreme Court, the main petitioner in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case, Zafaryab Jilani, member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board had told a news channel, "They (Shia Central Waqf Board) are already a party to one of the suits, and can’t come up with a new additional affidavit. The Supreme Court will not entertain it."

Updated Date: Aug 11, 2017 08:54 AM

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