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AIMPLB, Jamiat to seek review of Ayodhya verdict

Lucknow/New Delhi: A review petition will be filed against the Supreme Court’s Ayodhya verdict, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board and the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind announced on Sunday, stressing that mosque land cannot be given up as per the Sharia.

The board, after a meeting in Lucknow, also said that it was against accepting the five-acre alternative land given for a mosque as it “will neither balance equity nor repair the damage caused” and claimed the verdict had several contradictions.

The Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, whose former Uttar Pradesh general secretary M Siddiq was one of the original petitioners, said it will file the review petition soon as the verdict is “not based on evidence and logic”.

However, Iqbal Ansari, a main litigant in the Ayodhya land dispute case, distanced himself from the AIMPLB decision and stuck to his position that he will not go for a review.

The Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board, which has been awarded the five-acre plot by the apex court, had also welcomed the verdict but was yet to take a decision on “accepting” the alternative land.  It said they would not file a review petition.

Sunni Waqf Board chairman Zufar Farooqui reminded the AIMPLB that it had repeatedly said earlier that it would abide by the verdict.

“Then why an appeal is being made now…. The board may have decided to file a review petition, but the stand of the Sunni Waqf Board of not to do so remains,” he said.

He said a decision on accepting the five-acre land will be taken at the meeting of the Waqf Board on November 26.

Jamiat chief Maulana Arshad Madani said in a statement in Delhi that the apex court accepted most of the arguments and evidence of the Muslim parties, but delivered the judgment against them in favour of the Hindu parties.

“It is not a prestige issue. This is a matter of Sharia. We can neither give the mosque, nor take anything in lieu of it,” Madani told reporters in Lucknow.

The decision by the Jamiat to review the Ayodhya judgment was taken after its highest decision-making body, the working committee, gave its nod for filing the review petition following extensive deliberations involving lawyers and experts.

Sources said Jamiat’s working committee was earlier undecided on whether to file a review petition on the verdict and had formed a five-member panel headed by Madani on Friday to take a call on it after consulting with lawyers and experts.

 “The committee (formed by the Jamiat) was of the view that our review petition will be dismissed, but we have to take this step (of filing the review),” Madani told reporters.

 He was speaking after attending the AIMPLB meeting where AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi was among those present. 

“The AIMPLB, which is not a direct party to the case, will continue to play the role of guiding force for the litigants and in managing the case. Out of the Muslim petitioners, at least five seem to be backing a review with the Jamiat already announcing that it will do so,” AIMPLB member Kamal Farooqui told PTI after the board’s meeting in Lucknow’s Mumtaz College.

AIMPLB secretary Zafaryab Jilani told reporters after the meeting, “The land of the mosque belongs to Allah and under the Sharia, it cannot be given to anybody.”

“The board has also categorically stated that it was against taking five-acre land in Ayodhya in lieu of the mosque. The board is of the view that there cannot be any alternative to the mosque,” he said.

The installation of a statue of Lord Ram inside the Babri Masjid in the night of December 23, 1949, “was unconstitutional”, Jilani said, adding, “So, how did the Supreme Court consider them as ‘araadhya’ (eligible for worship). They (idols) cannot be considered as ‘araadhya’ (eligible for worship) even as per Hindu religion.”

“We feel that Sunni Waqf Board shall give respect to this view of the community at large,” the AIMPLB said.

 “The AIMPLB is not doing any politics over the Ayodhya issue, but is fighting for its constitutional rights,” he said, replying to a question during the press conference after the meeting.

After the AIMPLB made the announcements, Ansari told PTI in Ayodhya, “My views are different from that of the board and want an end to the mandir-masjid issue at this very point. There is no use of going for the review as the outcome will remain the same… The move will also vitiate the harmonious atmosphere.”

The Supreme Court, in its verdict in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title case on November 9, said the entire 2.77 acres of disputed land should be handed over to the deity Ram Lalla, who was one of the three litigants.

The five-judge Constitution bench also directed the Centre to allot a five-acre plot to the Sunni Waqf Board in Ayodhya to build a mosque.

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