Tuesday, Jun 10, 2003
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By Neena Vyas
As for the Bharatiya Janata Party, which welcomed Mr. Vajpayee's statement that no one should try to politicise the matter, it claimed that it had `never" made political capital of the issue.
S.Q.R. Ilyas, chairman of the Muslim Personal Law Board, said from Hyderabad over telephone that the Kanchi seer should spell out who he was talking to. "His reported claim that 90 per cent of Muslims were in favour of a temple of the disputed site on which the Babri Masjid stood was completely baseless. I can say that no talks are being held between him and the Law Board, the Milli Council, the Jamait-e-Islami or the Jamaat Ulema or any other known and accepted Muslim organisation." The secretary-general of the Board, Maulana Nizamuddin, said from Patna that no proposal was before the Board and therefore there was no question of accepting it or rejecting it. Both felt that the attempt was to run away from the judicial verdict which could come soon.
Dr. Ilyas also said that even at this stage if Mr. Vajpayee was interested in a negotiated settlement then the Government should spell out its proposal and involve itself directly in talks. As for court proceedings, he asserted that if it was conclusively proved that the Babri Masjid was built in the 16th century immediately after destroying a temple which stood there at the time, Muslims would not push their claim.
Several other Muslim leaders, including Syed Shahabuddin, joined issue and virtually took the Prime Minister and the Kanchi seer to task "negotiations conducted in dark rooms with unknown faces signed by unknown men cannot be a solution", Syed Shahabuddin said. "The court was hearing the matter, the court was also monitoring archaeological evidence and the court alone was competent to decide".
The BJP tied itself in knots when agreeing with the Prime Minister that the issue should not be politicised.
The party spokesperson, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, claimed that even in 1989 when the Ram temple issue became part of the BJP's political resolution in Palampur, "we had not politicised it". Nor had this been done when L.K. Advani's `rath yatra' took up the Ayodhya issue and the BJP's lotus symbol decorated his chariot. "We took it up as an issue of cultural nationalism," Mr. Naqvi said.
Not even the VHP leaders were impressed by the Prime Minister or the Kanchi seer's latest efforts at negotiating a deal on Ayodhya.
They had earlier directly charged that but for the politicisation of the issue by the BJP, the Ayodhya problem could have been and would have been resolved.
Today, the VHP leader, Ashok Singhal, said in Ayodhya that the time for a "negotiated settlement" of the dispute was over. It can only be settled by legislating in Parliament, that is, Parliament should hand over the disputed site to the VHP for building a Ram temple.
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