In what capacity Sri Sri is visiting Ayodhya, ask Hindu and Muslim leaders

When the matter is pending in Supreme Court and all claimants have given it in writing in SC that hearing should start immediately, the spiritual guru’s visit may not carry much significance

Photo courtesy: Chief Minster Information Bureau, Lucknow
Photo courtesy: Chief Minster Information Bureau, Lucknow
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Biswajeet Banerjee

With news of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar visiting Ayodhya on Thursday, the focus is back on Ram Janmanbhoomi-Babri Masjid issue but the bigger question is whom the spiritual guru will meet and in what capacity. In a hushed voice, Muslim clerics have started questioning whether Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s `mole’ in the game.

“Why is Sri Sri coming to Ayodhya on November 16? What is his stake in this controversy? It is better Babas stay out of this,” a Muslim cleric said, adding that “probably he is looking for media limelight and has thus decided to visit Ayodhya.”

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC) have turned down the proposal to meet Sri Sri. They have questioned the purpose of his visit to Ayodhya. “In what capacity will Sri Sri be meeting Muslim clerics though officially we have communicated that we are not eager to meet him? Some Board members will meet him in their personal capacity but not as the Board’s representatives,” AIMPLB counsel and convener of the Committee, Jafaryab Jilani, said.

Jilani refused to meet the spiritual leader in Lucknow. However, AIMPLB member and eminent Sunni leader, Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahali, met Sri Sri in his personal capacity.

“He wanted to meet us. We cannot say no. We did not go to his doors. His representatives said Sri Sri wants to visit our home. This meeting has nothing to do with the Ayodhya issue. AIMPLB will take its decision in this regard,” he said.

“Sri Sri has no concrete formula to resolve the issue and the Muslim community would not back down on the dispute," sources told National Herald, adding that AIMPLB wanted the spiritual guru to first convince Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on the issue and then get back to the Board through a written communication.

VHP spokesman Sharad Sharma said that the time for mediation was over. We know Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is coming and it is purely his personal visit. He has not contacted us, nor have we contacted him.

“And why should we go for mediation? The place belongs to the Hindu samaj. Why will Hindu samaj go for any samjhauta on its own property,” Sharma asked.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar reached Lucknow on Tuesday evening and met Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday morning.

A report from Ayodhya, quoting Swami Bhavya Tej, representative of the guru, said the Art of Living founder will reach Ayodhya at 1100 hrs on November 16, and will meet Shri Ramjanambhoomi Nyas chairman Mahant Nritya Gopal Das at Maniram Chavni.

Later, he will meet other members of the Nyas, including Ramvilas Vedanti, who has questioned Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s locus standi on the matter.

Sri Sri is also expected to meet Iqbal Ansari, son of late Hashim Ansari, Mahant Ramdas of Nirmohi Akhara and Jagatgurj Ramanujachayara Swami Sridharacharya at Ashrafi Bhawan.

This meeting of Sri Sri with leaders of Ayodhya appears meaningless. When the matter is pending in Supreme Court and all claimants have given it in writing in SC that hearing should start immediately, what’s the need to have mediation, says Iqbal Ansari. “We cannot throw anyone out of our house. Sri Sri is a spiritual leader and has a standing in the society. So, I made it a point that if he wanted to meet me he should come to my house and that I am not going anywhere,” he said.

The Supreme Court had on August 11 said it would commence the final hearing in the dispute from December 5.

The Supreme Court decided to reopen the hearing based on 13 appeals filed in four civil suits against the 2010 judgment that ordered a three-way split of the territory among Nirmohi Akhara, a religious denomination, Ram Lalla Virajmaan (the deity); and the Sunni Waqf Board. The court will hear the case on December 5.

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