‘The fight is over the Masjid’

A section of Muslim leaders allege that Centre is creating more parties to the Babri Masjid dispute

Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

S Khurram Raza

“Basically, everything is happening at the instruction of Central government. The Centre wants to complicate the matters by creating more parties to the dispute. We are not surprised over these new developments” says Kamal Farooqui, member Muslim Personal Law Board, in response to the affidavit filed by the Uttar Pradesh Shia Central Waqf Board in the Supreme Court. The Shia Board has suggested that Ram Mandir be built in a Muslim-dominated area at a reasonable distance from the disputed site in Ayodhya.

Talking to the Nation Herald, Farooqui said that though this development will not have any effect on the ongoing case, it raises questions, “The fight is over the mosque. How come after so many decades there is this question whether the mosque belongs to Shia sect or Sunni sect?” The Centre has welcomed the filing of the affidavit by the Shia Board.

In its affidavit, the Shia Board has stated that the Babri Masjid belongs to the Shia sect and till 1946 the management was in their hands but in 1946 the British administration turned it over to the Sunni Waqf Board.

Most Muslim leaders maintain that this move will harm the Muslim cause, meanwhile the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has welcomed the step. Hailing the affidavit the union minister Sanjeev Baliyan said that the issue has lingered for long and this affidavit would help in resolving the status quo.

The chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Shia Central Waqf Board, Waseem Rizvi, was considered close to Samajwadi Party leaders and there are allegations of corruption against him.

The development is not new. Earlier this year the Shia Board claimed that the Babri Masjid, demolished on December 6, 1992 was a Shia Waqf property and challenged the 1946 order of the Faizabad District Court. The Faizabad court had awarded the ownership of the Babri Masjid to the Sunni Central Waqf Board. Shia Waqf Board had at the time said that ‘Waqf Masjid Meer Baqi’ popularly known as Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, was a Shia mosque.

Waseem Rizvi at that time stated that "The mosque was built during the reign of Babar by Mir Baqi who, as history states, was a Shia from Persia. It was always a Shia mosque by that virtue, with the Mutawallis (trustees) all from the pedigree of Baqi. Only the Imam and muezzins of the mosque were Sunni, who were paid their dues by the Shia Mutawalli. Namaz was offered by both Shia and Sunnis."

Refuting this claim the chairman of the Sunni Waqf Board has stated that the filing of the affidavit is to help BJP. He said that in 1946 it was settled that the Shia Board has no right over the mosque. It is unfortunate that after 71 years this issue is being raked up. The president of Jamat-e-Islami Hind, Maulana Jalaluddin Umri, said that this affidavit will harm the unity of the Muslim community. Criticising the chairman of Shia Board, the Shia scholar Maulana Mohsin Ali Taqvi said “Those who have sold the waqf land now want to strike a deal on Babri Masjid.”

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