The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sadiq back in Ayodhya panel

Lucknow, June 15: Maulana Kalbe-Sadiq today withdrew his resignation from the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board’s committee handling the Ayodhya issue following an assurance that the board was willing to consider a written offer from the Kanchi Sankaracharya to resolve the dispute.

One of the senior vice-presidents of the board, Kalbe-Sadiq resigned last week because of hardliners’ resistance to Swami Jayendra Saraswati’s latest peace offer.

Board president Maulana Rabey Hasan Nadvi said Kalbe-Sadiq, considered a moderate, withdrew his resignation after he was told the board had not shut the doors on further negotiations with the seer.

Nadvi, who had a secret hour-long one-to-one meeting with the Sankaracharya on June 7, said the seer had called on him to inquire about his health. He said the Ayodhya issue was discussed only peripherally.

“Though the matter is in the court and we have made it clear that we shall abide by the court verdict, if a good proposal comes to us from any quarter, we shall consider it,” he said.

Nadvi added: “I asked him (Saraswati) to send his proposals in writing.” He said so far he had not received anything from the seer. “If any written proposal comes, I shall refer it to the (board’s) working committee which will consider it.”

Kalbe-Sadiq confirmed that he had withdrawn his resignation from the 11-member committee after Nadvi’s clarification. “My only objective was that the doors for talks should never be closed; now I am satisfied,” he said.

But another board member and convener of the Babri Masjid Action Committee, Zafaryab Jilani, insisted that neither the board nor any group of individuals had the right to negotiate on behalf of Muslims.

Jilani seemed to concur with the Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid, Syed Ahmed Bukhari’s views on the subject.

However, Nadvi dismissed the Shahi Imam’s statement that the board would not be allowed to bargain on the issue as “irresponsible”.

He said: “Such remarks will not help the objective of safeguarding the interests of the Indian Muslim community. We must remain open to negotiations without sacrificing our basic tenets.”

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