Lucknow/New Delhi: In a disturbing revelation, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) today alleged that the Ayodhya district administration is forcing Muslims in the holy city not utter words against the Supreme Court verdict on decades-long Babri Masjid-Ramjanambhoomi land title dispute.
“It has come to our notice that the police administration in Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh) is pressurising Muslims not to give statements against the SC verdict (pronounced on November 9),” Advocatd Zafaryab Jilani, AIMPLB member and UP Central Sunni Waqf Board lawyer, told reporters in Lucknow.
This was perhaps the reason – according to him – why Iqbal Ansari, one of the litigants in the title suit, is opposing the decision to go for a review petition against the top court’s judgment.
Iqbal Ansari, whose father, Hashim Ansari, was one of the first and oldest litigants in the case, has decided not to challenge the Ayodhya verdict. Another Muslim litigant, Haji Mehboob, has also echoed similar sentiments.
Jilani also alleged that the Lucknow district administration did not allow the AIMPLB to hold the meeting at its pre-decided venue, which was Darul-uloom Nadwatul Ulama – a well-known Islamic seminary.
“I condemn the Lucknow administration for not allowing the meeting to happen at the seminary. Maulana Rabey Hasani Nadwi (Chancellor of Nadwatul Ulama and also fourth president of the AIMPLB) was threatened by the district administration and asked not to allow the meeting in his campus,” he alleged.
The crucial meeting of the board took place at Mumtaz Degree College in the Old City area of Lucknow.
Jilani was addressing the media after the AIMPLB’s meeting in the state capital wherein it was decided that the board will file a review petition in the Alex court against the latter’s Constitution Bench (comprising then Chief Justice of India Justice Ranjan Gogoi, CJI-designate Justice SA Bonds, Justice A Nazeer, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice DY Chandrachud) verdict.
The board also rejected to accept five acres of land given to Muslims for construction of a mosque.
The Supreme Court, in a unanimous verdict, gave entire 2.77-acre of disputed land, where Babri Masjid once stood, to Hindus and ordered the Centre to give 5-acre alternate land to Muslims for construction of a mosque or whatever structure they want.
“The board (AIMPLB) has decided that we will file a review petition in the Supreme Court within stipulated 30 days of the verdict,” said AIMPLB Convenor Dr Qasim Rasool Iliyas, rejecting the alternate site as ordered by the top court.
“We feel that restitution by granting five acres of land, where fundamental values have been damaged to the extent of causing national shame, will not in any manner heal the wounds caused,” he said.
He further said mosques are essential for religious practices of Muslims. “Building the same mosque at some other site is not permissible as per Islamic law as a mosque cannot be shifted,” he added.
He added that the rest five of the seven litigants are ready to go the review petition.
Mohammad Umar, a third Muslim litigant, had said that he would abide by whatever decision AIMPLB takes at its meeting in Lucknow on Sunday. “There are some inconsistencies in the verdict and I feel there is a scope for correction. I will go by whatever my seniors in the AIMPLB tell me to do,” he said.
The Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board, too, has made its stand clear that it has accepted the verdict and there was no scope or ground to challenge it.
Since the AIMPLB was not a party to the title suit case, it would need the backing of at least one of the seven Muslim litigants to file a review petition.