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Muslims denounce PM's statements
By SU Rahman

Muslims have reacted strongly to the prime minister's statements on the Babri Masjid. His statements on the demolished mosque on 6 and 7 December have received flack from all quarters of the Muslim society. 
Leaders from all parties and organizations have strongly condemned the ‘secular’ prime minister's utterances on such a sensitive issue. 

GM Banatwala, the president of the All-India Muslim League has been very vocal in this respect. He told The Milli Gazette that the prime minister has been grossly wrong in making such unconstitutional demands. Banatwala added that the prime minister this way has tried to influence the judicial proceedings against the three ministers charge-sheeted in the Babri Masjid demolition case. He added that exonerating people who are accused in such a sensitive case is absolutely against the law. 

Maulana Muhammad Ja’far, general secretary of the Jama'at-e-Islami Hind has also strongly denounced the prime minister's statements. He said that it is absolutely wrong to think that Muslims will ever hand over their place of worship for such a purpose. He added that this statement may be of a leader who is not prepared to accept judgement of any court of law, but it cannot be the statement of a leader who is leading a coalition government that consists of 27 political parties. The Maulana also said that a number of Hindu brethren of the country have openly come out to oppose the demolition of the Babri Masjid, so it cannot be said that it is an expression of Hindus, let alone national, sentiments..

Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid, Delhi, Maulana Syed Ahmad Bukhari sharply criticized the prime minister for making such comments. He said while speaking in a rally organized in Delhi on 15 December that Vajpayee should retract his words. He added that the prime minister should apologize to the Muslims of the country for making such statements. He also condemned the dual policy of the BJP and its allies particularly of Trinamul Congress and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP). He said that after reiterating his statement in Parliament the prime minister has made it amply clear that the plans of the VHP and the BJP are similar in respect of the construction of the temple at site where Babri Masjid once stood.

Syed Shahabuddin, president of the Babri Masjid Rabita Committee, said that Muslims have always been prepared for an amicable solution to this problem. He said that Muslims have never been opposed to the talks on the issue. He added that Muslims have never opposed the construction of the Ram temple at any adjacent plot of the mosque, but they cannot accept its construction on the site where Babri Masjid once stood.

Syed Shahabuddin added that the prime minister has destroyed his secular image by making such provocative statements. He added that the prime minister's statement that the three accused in the Babri demolition were there at the site to save it from destruction was aimed to pressurize the CBI. 

Shia-Sunni Unity Forum has also criticized the prime minister's statements.

In the meantime Muslims throughout the country have openly come out to denounce the statements made by the prime minister through statements, sit-ins, rallies and demonstrations. They have also demanded the resignation of the three ministers accused in the Babri demolition case.

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