Refuting reports of a breakthrough in mediation efforts in the Ayodhya dispute, Muslim parties on Friday submitted a statement before the Supreme Court, expressing shock over reports that the Sunni Wakf Board was ready to withdraw from its claim on the disputed site and raising serious questions about the representativeness of the recent attempts of the mediation committee.
“We are taken aback by the media reports attributed by Mr Shahid Rizvi, advocate on record, that UP Sunni Central Waqf Board was willing to withdraw the claim on the site of the Babri Masjid,” the Muslim appellants said in the statement.
They said this news was leaked either by the mediation committee or the Nirvani Akhara, which claims the right on the disputed site.
The Muslim parties raised questions about the representativeness of the mediation efforts, saying it had limited participation, which included Dharma Das of Nirvani Akhara, Zufar Faruqui of Sunni Central Waqf Board and Chakrapani of the Hindu Mahasabha.
They contend that it is difficult to accept that any mediation could have been done under the circumstances when the main Hindu parties had openly stated that they were not open to any settlement and all the other Muslim appellants were also not ready for it.
It was pointed out that senior advocate Sriram Panchu, a member of the court-appointed mediation committee, had sent a communication to the chief justice of India that protection be granted to Faruqui, and the Uttar Pradesh state government was directed to make the necessary security arrangements.
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“The timing of the leak to the press and its confirmation by Mr Rizvi on 17th October 2019, on the very date when the hearing closed, seems to have been well thought out. Mr Panchu was also in the premises of the Supreme Court on 16th of October and was communicating in the premises to Mr Zafar Faruqui,” the statement from the Muslim parties read.
“Accordingly, we must make it absolutely clear that we, the appellants before Supreme Court, do not accept the proposal made, which has been leaked out to the press, nor the procedure by which the mediation has taken place nor the manner in which a withdrawal of the claim has been suggested as a compromise,” the Muslim parties further said.