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Muslims fume at PM temple vow

Lucknow, Aug. 2: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s statement on a Ram temple in Ayodhya has evoked sharp reaction from the All India Muslim Personal Law Board and other Muslim organisations.

Before hundreds of mourners at Mahant Ramchandradas Paramhans’ funeral in Ayodhya yesterday, Vajpayee had announced that a “grand” temple would be built at the birthplace of Ram.

Board spokesperson Qasim Rasool Illyasi described it as “unfortunate and uncalled for” and going against the Prime Minister’s own commitment in Parliament that the government would wait for the court’s verdict if a mutually agreeable solution was not found through talks.

“The Prime Minister is fully aware that the dispute in pending in the court and his statement is tantamount to an attempt to influence the court,” Illyasi said.

The spokesperson reminded Vajpayee that he was the Prime Minister and, therefore, should not appear to be tilting towards one community against another.

Board vice-president Maulana Kalbe Sadiq refused to comment on Vajpayee’s remarks. “Instead of acting and reacting, the need of the hour is to establish a dialogue for a negotiated settlement of the Ayodhya dispute.”

Zafaryab Jilani, convener of the Babri Masjid Action Committee, alleged that Vajpayee’s statement betrayed his government’s utter contempt towards the Constitution of India.

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