Muslim board to seek review
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board has decided to move a review petition against the Ayodhya verdict and resolved not to accept any alternative land outside the 2.77-acre disputed plot where the Babri Masjid stood.
Both decisions were taken at a working committee meeting of the law board here on Sunday, which its members said was attended by eight of the 10 Muslim petitioners in the case.
Among the absentees, however, was the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Wakf Board, the main Muslim claimant and the prospective recipient of the alternative five-acre plot to build a mosque. The other absentee was Iqbal Ansari, son of the original plaintiff Hashim Ansari.
It’s not clear whether the law board, which provided legal help to the wakf board in the Ayodhya title suit, and the other concurring Muslim petitioners would demand the entire 2.77 acres or a part of it. The Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind supported the decision on a review plea, PTI added.
The Supreme Court’s November 9 verdict allowed Hindus to build a Ram temple on the disputed plot while asking the central and Uttar Pradesh governments to give the wakf board a five-acre plot somewhere in Ayodhya.
At a news conference after the meeting, law board member Qasim Rasul Ilyas spelt out the reasons for the decision to seek a review. “The court accepted that a mosque was illegally razed in 1992. It accepted that Muslims prayed there till December 16, 1949 (before the Centre cordoned the place off),” Ilyas said.
“It also accepted that a Hindu sadhu had illegally put an idol of Lord Ram inside the mosque on the night of December 22, 1949. It admitted that the Hindu side couldn’t prove that anybody worshipped Lord Ram there before the idol was illegally placed. On these grounds we have decided to move a review petition.”
Board member and cleric Mohammad Umair Mahfooz Rahmani said: “We have studied the Shariah repeatedly and concluded that a plot where a mosque stood would remain sacred to us for eternity. So we reject the Supreme Court’s offer of alternative land and demand the same spot where the Babri Masjid stood.”
Zafaryab Jilani, board member and counsel for the wakf board and some other Muslim plaintiffs, said: “We will file the review petition within 30 days (by December 8) from the date of the order. It will be heard by the same bench, but a new judge is appointed if anybody retires.”
Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who headed the five-member constitution bench that passed the Ayodhya verdict, retired on Sunday.
Jilani said: “The wakf board and Iqbal Ansari didn’t attend the meeting but that doesn’t affect our decision.”
The wakf board, whose chairperson Zufar Ahmad Farooqui is considered close to the BJP, and Ansari said they didn’t support the move to seek a review, PTI reported.
Jilani alleged that “state government pressure” had forced the law board to change the venue of the meeting on Sunday morning from the Nadwatul-Uloom, an Islamic seminary in the heart of Lucknow, to the Mumtaz Post Graduate College on the city’s outskirts.
Law board meetings are generally held at the seminary, which is headed by board chairperson Rabey Hasan Nadvi. But, Jilani said, administrative officials and police had forcibly entered the seminary on Saturday night and asked its members not to host the law board meeting.