On a day the Union government sought Supreme Court permission to hand over the “undisputed” land in Ayodhya to the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, the stakeholders in the temple town reacted with cautious optimism, saying this could be the way out to the long legal tangle.
The main litigant from the Muslim side, Iqbal Ansari, said he did not have any objection to the move by the Modi government.
“The dispute is about the 2.77-acre land where the Babri mosque once stood,” he said. “The land other than this is in possession of the government…there are temples on it, a graveyard, houses…we have no objection whatever is done of the land. But the matter as to where the mosque once stood will be decided by the Supreme Court,” Ansari told IANS.
He charged the BJP government at the Centre with “playing politics on the issue” as the Lok Sabha elections are around the corner. He said the Union government had in 1993 acquired 67 acres of land. For the land excluding the 2.77 acres, no one had much of a problem.
Ansari has on many occasions said that he wanted an amicable, just and peaceful solution to the problem.
From the Hindu side, the chief priest of the Ram Lalla, seated in a makeshift temple on the site where Babri mosque was demolished, Acharya Satyendra Das says that while there was no problem from their side in the Union government getting back the remaining land, the Ram temple cannot be built unless the 2.77 acre title suit is settled.
Meanwhile Zafaryab Jilani, member of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), has said that the apex court had ordered status quo and if the Union government does anything in contravention, he will challenge it in the Supreme Court.
Talking to IANS, the convener of Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC) said that “so far an application has been moved by the Centre and the court is still to take cognisance. In case it does, we will file an objection”.
“We will also challenge the government’s move as the government cannot take sides on such issues. It can be an agenda of a political party, but not of a government,” he said emphatically while adding that by all logical and legal standards, the application has no basis.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, meanwhile, told reporters in Prayagraj that he welcomed the move of the Central government. “I welcome the step. The undisputed land should be given to us for temple construction” he added.
Paras Gupta, a grocery show owner in the temple town, though, sounded concerned at the “growing activity” on the Ram temple issue as Lok Sabha polls draw near. He said any peaceful settlement was welcome.
“We want peace and kaam-dhandha (work) to run smoothly. The government must keep this in mind while deciding anything on the sensitive issue,” he told IANS.