Babri Masjid panel caution on temple ordinance
The Babri Masjid Action Committee of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board has cautioned the Narendra Modi government against bringing an ordinance to clear the decks for a Ram temple in Ayodhya, saying it would move the Supreme Court to counter any such attempt.
The assertion came after the committee met in Lucknow on Thursday to work out a strategy following BJP ally Shiv Sena’s suggestion that the Centre might bring in such an ordinance.
“The committee was informed (by its legal cell) about the status of the (Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid) title suit. The committee has expressed its satisfaction over the legal strategy and pleading of the case (by its lawyers) in the apex court,” law board convener Jafaryab Zilani told reporters after the meeting.
“If any effort is made to bring an ordinance the committee will move the Supreme Court in time to maintain the status quo.”
The Ayodhya land dispute is now before the top court. A host of Sangh parivar leaders had before the general election urged the government to issue an ordinance to clear the way for the temple’s construction, but Modi had in a pre-poll interview said he would wait for a court verdict.
At the last hearing early this year, the top court had formed a panel to explore an out-of-court settlement. The panel is understood to have submitted its report to the court.
Thursday’s meeting of the Babri action committee in Lucknow came days after Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had asserted that the Modi government would soon build a Ram temple in Ayodhya and suggested this might be done through an ordinance.
“Modi has the confidence to bring an ordinance in the Lok Sabha for constructing the temple in Ayodhya. The Shiv Sena will support the government on this,” Uddhav, who had on Sunday prayed at the makeshift Ram temple with all his 18 Lok Sabha MPs, said.
Ordinances can be promulgated only when Parliament is not in session. They must, however, be ratified by Parliament within six weeks of the start of a session.
At a series of meetings of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in Ayodhya and Haridwar last week, the sadhus of the organisation had demanded that the Centre build the temple soon.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath is a member of the VHP.
Zilani said the Babri action committee “expressed its concern over the attitude of the present Uttar Pradesh government”.
The committee, he said, felt that the government was “apparently going against the written statement of the UP government of 1950 and the then district magistrate as they had admitted in the court at that time that Muslims had been offering prayers in the Babri Masjid for centuries and Hindus never worshiped there”.
“The present UP government is treating itself as a government of the believers of a particular religion, whereas, as per the Constitution of India, a government doesn’t belong to any religion,” Zilani said, giving details of the action committee’s discussions where around two dozen members were present.
The Hindu side mostly banks on the argument that Muslims never offered prayers at the disputed site.
The Muslim law board had formed the action committee to plead the case of the Sunni Central Waqf Board, one of the three parties in the Ayodhya case. The other two are the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla Virajman (infant Ram), represented by a VHP leader.