The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Atal and seer stuck in Ayodhya divide

New Delhi, June 9: The Prime Minister’s and the Kanchi Sankaracharya’s proposed solutions to the Ayodhya dispute have come under fire from both Hindu and Muslim organisations.

Unlike Muslim organisations that stuck to a court verdict as the only solution, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad rejected Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s proposal of a negotiated settlement or a court verdict — or both — in favour of a Central law.

VHP working president Ashok Singhal said in Ayodhya: “If political parties are keen to solve this issue, they should enact a law in favour of Ram temple construction. At this juncture, this seems to be the only plausible solution.”

Vajpayee had yesterday said at the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam’s golden jubilee celebrations here that a solution was likely only when the controversy was freed from politics, without counting gains or losses.

The Centre, which had reposed faith in the Sankaracharya’s mediatory skills, distanced itself from the seer’s claims after facing the heat from outfits that mattered in the temple movement.

Minister of state for home Swami Chinmayanand, a former VHP member, said the Sankaracharya’s views were his own and the Centre had nothing to do with his initiative.

At the programme yesterday, Swami Jayendra Saraswati had claimed that Hindu and Muslim leaders were working out a joint appeal to be unveiled next month.

Muslim leaders, he said, were ready to hand over the disputed site to Hindu religious leaders, not political outfits, in exchange for 100 mosques now under the charge of Archaeological Survey of India.

VHP’s Acharya Giriraj Kishore ridiculed the suggestion, saying “the Kanchi seer’s proposal to allow Muslims to hold prayers in 100 mosques protected by the ASI in lieu of Ayodhya settlement is totally unacceptable”.

Taking a dig at the Sankaracharya’s comment against political outfits, Kishore sought clarification on the status of members of Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas such as Mahant Ramchandradas Paramhans and Nritya Gopal Das. “Both are revered religious leaders. Let them (Muslims) hand over the land to these leaders,” Kishore said.

Like the All India Muslim Personal Law Board and the All India Muslim Majhlis-e-Mushawarat, the VHP, too, wondered which organisations and leaders the seer was speaking to for the joint appeal.

“I can say that he (the Sankaracharya) is not holding talks with any responsible or authorised organisation or individual,” Majhlis-e-Mushawarat chief Syed Shahabuddin said.

“Whether a temple should be built at the site or a mosque can be decided only by the Supreme Court as the title suit is being heard by it. Muslims have already declared that they would accept the court verdict even if it went against them.”

While the board rejected the Sankaracharya as a mediator and slammed the door on a negotiated settlement, VHP sources said in private that the seer should leave the Ayodhya solution to the political establishment.

The Congress preferred a court verdict as the final solution, though the BJP — according to party chief M. Venkaiah Naidu in Chennai — decided to stick to Vajpayee’s proposal.


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