Sunni Waqf Board chairman seeks to withdraw from Ayodhya title dispute

In what appears to be a case of extreme arm-twisting, the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Waqf Board chairman submitted an application on Wednesday to withdraw from the case as a party

A file photo of Babri Masjid at Ayodhya
A file photo of Babri Masjid at Ayodhya

Ashlin Mathew

What appears to be a case of arm-twisting by government agencies, the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Waqf Board, which functions under the UP government headed by Ajay Bisht alias Yogi Adityanath, submitted an application on Wednesday to the Supreme Court to withdraw from the case as a party.

Wednesday happens to be the 40th and the last day of consecutive hearing with the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi indicating that the hearing would end at 5 pm today.

The application was submitted by the UP Sunni Waqf Board Chairman Zafar Ahmed Farooqui. According to sources, he was arm-twisted into doing so. The Affidavit was submitted through Sriram Panchu, who was a part of the mediation group set up by the Supreme Court earlier. However, Panchu two days ago appeared as a lawyer representing Farooqui in the court.

When he had come to court two days ago, he had submitted that the Sunni Waqf Board needed to be given extra protection. Now, it has come to light why the extra security was asked for.

However, it is not yet clear if the CJI has accepted the intervention as Gogoi has rejected the intervention by the Hindu Mahasabha. Slamming the Hindu Mahasabha, saying “Enough is Enough”.

The decision on the Waqf application is not clear because under usual circumstances the Waqf reaches a decision after holding a meeting. In this case, it wasn’t done.

This is not the first time the Ajay Bisht government has attempted to arm twist the Muslim parties into withdrawing from the case. They had earlier attempted to remove Rajeev Dhavan, then they attempted through the mediation panel. Then they created a confusion by asking the Sunni Waqf Board to state contrary statements. This was the last attempt.

However, according to a report in The Wire, Sunni Waqf Board has informed the Supreme Court that it no longer wishes to pursue its appeals in the matter.

“Settlement has been filed. I cannot say more now”, a source familiar with the proceedings spoke to The Wire on Wednesday morning.

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Published: 16 Oct 2019, 12:07 PM