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Questions raised on location of 5-acre land for mosque

The issue seems to be dividing the Muslim community, with one petitioner Iqbal Ansari saying the land should not be accepted if it is beyond the 63-acre acquired area.

, ET Bureau|
Nov 13, 2019, 09.57 AM IST
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AFP
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A Priest of Hanuman Garhi temple (R) and a local Muslim leader look at stone slabs earmarked for the construction of a Hindu God Ram temple at a workshop in Ayodhya on November 10, 2019.
AYODHYA/LUCKNOW: Masjid ki jagah bhi bata dete, masla hi khatam ho jata (If we had been told the place of the new mosque, the matter would have been settled) – that’s how a group of Muslim men near Ghausiya mosque in Faizabad reacted when asked if they were happy with the Supreme Court’s Ayodhya verdict or did they wish for more.

In Muslim-dominated areas such as Faizabad, Ayodhya’s Syedwada area and Chowk and Aminabad in the Old City of Lucknow, as the fine-print of the judgement becomes clearer, a common refrain ET heard among the Muslim community was that the location of the 5-acre for proposed mosque has been left “unsettled” by the Supreme Court.

In Lucknow’s Aminabad, Sadiq Mohd and his friend, Mian Mushtaq, both young students, pointed out how the top court left the option to the government on where the mosque should come up -- inside the 63-acre acquired undisputed land in Ayodhya or “a suitable prominent place in Ayodhya”.

“What is the definition of a suitable prominent place? By giving two options to the government, the first option cancels itself out. We know now where the temple will come up, but not the mosque,” they said. In Syedwada, Muslim villagers said it is unclear if the SC meant ‘Ayodhya town or Ayodhya district’ -- the Faizabad district was recently renamed as Ayodhya district by the UP government.

The issue seems to be dividing the Muslim community, with one petitioner Iqbal Ansari saying the land should not be accepted if it is beyond the 63-acre acquired area. Sunni Waqf Board, which is to get the land, is also unclear if it will accept the land and its decision too could depend on where the government grants it, though it has said it won’t appeal against the judgement.

According to a signed statement to the mediation panel, which was put before the SC, the Sunni Waqf Board had agreed to relinquish its right over the 2.77 acre disputed land subject to some conditions. “But the Sunni Waqf board never agreed to accept a mosque outside the 63-acre acquired land,” Iqbal Ansari told ET.

The All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) will also dwell on this issue on November 17 as well as the possibility of going in for a review of the SC order through any of the five other Muslim litigants in the case besides the Sunni Waqf board.

Further, Maulana Salman Hussain Nadvi of the Nadwa College met chief minister Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow on Monday as part of a 15-member Muslim delegation and told him that the allotted land should also house an Islamic University besides a mosque.
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