Attempts to secure even a weak and partial mediation committee-led deal in the Ayodhya matter were dealt a blow as representatives of six of the seven appellants on the mosque side rejected the process and content of the mediation deal, as well as the circumstances and timing of the submission of the final report.
In a statement on Friday, they said they "do not accept the proposal made which has been leaked out to the press, nor the procedure by which the mediation has taken place, nor the manner in which a withdrawal of the claim has been suggested as a compromise".
As reported by The Indian Express on October 17, on the last day of hearing in the Ayodhya matter, the mediation committee submitted the contours of a "deal" to the Supreme Court premised on the chairman of the Sunni Waqf Board offering "no objections" to the government taking over the disputed portion of the land, in return for ASI mosques being opened up for namaz, repair of mosques in Ayodhya, an alternative mosque in place of the demolished Babri Masjid and an institution for social harmony in Ayodhya. However, as reported, the deity (Ramlalla), Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas and Nirmohi Akhara refused to be a party to the mediation.
The offer to give up was backed by just one of the seven Muslim parties. On Friday, all the Muslim sides barring one went on to say that it was their understanding that "only the limited persons attended this mediation which were Dharma Das of Nirvani Akhara, Mr Zufar Faruqui of Sunni Central Waqf Board and Mr Chakrapani of Hindu Maha Sabha. We are also made to understand that the two other persons interested may have attended the mediation." Consequently, they said, "It is difficult to accept that any mediation could have been done under the circumstances especially when the main Hindu parties had openly stated that they were not open to any settlement and all the other Muslim Appellants made it clear, but, they would not do so."
Those arguing on behalf of the deity Ramlalla had, in open court, when the mediation process got a second lease of life, declared that they would not be participating in any mediation talks.
In March this year, days after the mediation committee was constituted, the Muslim sides had submitted a written proposal to the committee to construct both a temple and a mosque on the site, but it elicited no response from any Hindu party, so there was little scope for a breakthrough.
Alluding to the timing of the final ‘deal’ having been given to the Supreme Court, the public statement today points out that one of the mediators, senior advocate Sriram Panchu “had sent a communication to the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India that protection be granted to Mr. Zufar Faruqui and the State of U P was directed to make arrangements for him.” The statement also takes umbrage at the “leak” and its timing; “timing of the leak to the press and its confirmation by Mr. Rizvi (advocate on record acting on behalf of Zufar Faruqui) on 17th October 2019 on the very date when the hearing closed seems to have been well thought out. Mr. Panchu was also in the premises of the Supreme Court on 16th of October and was communicating in the premises to Mr. Zufar Faruqui.”
After being deemed as “failed” in August, just about a month ago, the Chief Justice allowed the mediation to continue alongside arguments in Court. The Court appointed team of mediators is led by retired Chief Justice of Madras High Court, Justice FMI Kalifulla, and senior advocate Sriram Panchu and Art of Living founder, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar are its other members.