The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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New flank in Ayodhya talks

Lucknow, Oct. 22: Representatives of a new minorities’ body started talks with the Ramjanmabhoomi trust today but several prominent Muslim leaders refused to attach much significance to the initiative.

Sayed Asghar Abbas Rizvi, the leader of the newly-formed Ayodhya Jama Masjid Trust, held talks with Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, the chief of the Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas, in Ayodhya today.

“I have always favoured a negotiated settlement of the dispute and am in touch with several leaders of the Muslim community,” Das said.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board was sceptical. “The board is the only representative body of the Muslims and it has already refused to talk to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and its associates,” Zafaryab Jilani, board member and counsel for the Central Sunni Waqf Board in the Ayodhya suits, said.

But Rizvi asserted that the “vexed issue could be solved only if an attempt is made by those living within Ayodhya’s municipal limits”.

Rizvi had formed the new trust with a group of local Muslims three months ago to open talks with the VHP leaders directly. Rizvi’s group had also made it clear that it had no objection if the disputed land was given to the temple trust.

Describing his talks with Das as “positive”, Rizvi said the negotiations would go on.

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