Ayodhya talks gather steam outside court, Haji Mehboob pins hope on meeting with PM Modi

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Ayodhya talks gather steam outside court, Haji Mehboob pins hope on meeting with PM Modi

Muslim leaders are holding deliberations among themselves and also with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to find solution to Ayodhya dispute. They plan to meet PM Modi.

A day after the Supreme Court commenced final hearings in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title suit, stakeholders in the case today took some steps towards resolving the decades-old dispute through peaceful negotiations.

Haji Mehboob, a party in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi case, today said that after holding consultations among themselves a group ulemas and Muslim scholars would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to find solution to the Ayodhya dispute.

"Muslim ulemas are likely to meet on February 21-22 or first week of March in Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh). The ulemas and parties in Babri Masjid and Muslim scholars will hold deliberations on the matter. The decision taken here would be communicated to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (the Art of Living founder, who is acting as a private mediator)," Haji Mehboob said.

EYES ON MEETING WITH MODI

He further said, "Later, the ulemas and Muslim scholars will meet the prime minister and after that some decision may come out. Muslims are ready to sacrifice for the country."

Reacting to Haji Mehboob's remark, Nirmohi Akhada mahant Dinendra Das said, "If Muslims are ready, the Nirmohi Akhada is also ready for talks."

Another party in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi case, Iqbal Ansari said, "Till we talk to parties involved in the case including the Muslim Personal Law Board, a solution will not come out." However, Satyendra Das, the chief priest at the Ram Janmabhoomi, said, "If PM and CM take the initiative solution will come out.

ANOTHER MEETING IN BENGALURU

On the other hand, related developments took place down south in Bengaluru, where a group of Muslim leaders including from the All India Muslim Personal Law Board and the Sunni Waqf Board, held a meeting with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

The Art of Living issued a statement following the meeting saying that the eminent members of the Sunni Waqf Board, All India Muslim Personal Law Board and others expressed support for an out-of-court settlement in the Ayodhya matter.

"They have supported the proposal of shifting the Masjid outside to another place. Many Muslim stakeholders are cooperating in this matter," an AOL statement said. It said that 16 leaders from multiple organisations attended the meeting at which representatives and scholars from various states were present too.

"A bigger meeting is slated to be held in Ayodhya soon," the statement said.

SRI SRI, THE KEY?

Muslim Personal Law Board executive member Maulana Syed Salman Hussain Nadvi attended the meeting, as also Uttar Pradesh Sunni Waqf Board chairperson Zufar Ahmad Farooqui, Maulana Wasif Hasan of Teelay Wali Masjid in Lucknow and retired IAS officer Dr Anis Ansari, an AOL executive said.

Other attendees were Centre for Objective Research and Development (CORD) director Athar Husain Siddiqui, businessman A R Rahman, London-based World Islamic Forum chairman Maulana Isa Mansuri, Lucknow advocate Imran Ahmed, former Haj committee of India chairman A Aboobucker and Dr Musa Kaiser of Bengaluru.

The development is interesting as the Vishva Hindu Parishad - which led campaign to build Ram temple at Ayodhya - has distanced itself from Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's attempt to mediate in the protracted issue.

While RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat - during the Dharma Sansad held in November last year at Udupi in Karnataka - did not 'appreciate' Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's efforts to mediate the Ayodhya dispute, the Art of Living founder met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath the same month over the issue.

(With PTI inputs)