Jobs @ MG
... and the view from Lucknow
Muslims sceptical about Vajpayee
By Obaid Nasir
|Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
dropped a bomb shell in Raj Bhavan when he declared that the Ayodhya
tangle will be solved by March 2002. The entire journalist community
covering the press conference was stunned and for a moment forgot to take
down notes when the prime minister said this in reply to a question about
the VHP threat to start construction of Ram Mandir as per the announcement
made during the Kumbh mela.
Though the prime minister did not go into the details, his statement
boosted the morale of Hindutva forces while the entire Muslim community
and the secular elements of the society expressed their displeasure over
Acharya Giriraj Kishore, the general secretary of VHP, has welcomed the
statement and expressed hope that the VHP will be able to start the
construction of Ram Temple as per its declared programme. He, however, did
not forget to declare that the VHP will go ahead as per its programme no
matter what the government. or courts say. He said that only Dharmacharyas
(religious heads) could take any decision in this regard and that decision
will be final.
Muslims and secularists have, on the other hand, reacted sharply to the
prime minister's statement. Vice President of Muslim Personal Law Board,
Maulana Kalbe Sadiq, while talking to MG asked ‘Why Mr. Vajpayee
declared that the matter will be solved by March, why not by April, or
February?’ He clarified that since VHP has announced to start the
construction of its Ram Mandir in the month of March so Mr. Vajpayee too
declared his programme of solving the issue (perhaps in VHP’s favour).
Maulana Sadiq, who is also a member of Babri Masjid sub-committee of
Muslim Personal Law Board, said that as per his information no talks to
solve this issue are going on with any responsible Muslim organization and
since the matter has been taken over by the Board no other Muslim
organization will come forward to discuss the issue.
Legal advisor of Muslim Personal Law Board and a prominent advocate of
Allahabad High Court, Mr. Abdul Mannan, said that he could not understand
as to what prompted Mr. Vajpayee to make such a statement, but as far as
the legal position is concerned a judgement in the case is not possible by
March 2002, and if he is hinting towards a negotiated settlement, it is
for the Prime Minister to clarify as to who is talking to whom. However,
Babri Masjid Action Committee is not involved in any such clandestine
talk, he said.
Maulana Burhanuddin Sambhali, a prominent scholar and teacher in Nadwatul
Ulama, who is also the member of Muslim Personal Law Board, told MG that
he is surprised to know that this contentious issue will be solved by
March 2002 and that this claim has been made by none other than the Prime
Minister. ‘I don’t know with whom the prime minister has indulged in
parleys, he should at least clarify it,’ he said. The Maulana further
asserted that All India Muslim Personal Law Board and its sub- committee
on Babri Masjid is the only competent authority and the prime minister or
any other representative of the government has never contacted the
committee in this regard. Then with whom the parleys are going on is a
Maulana Sajjad Nomani, another member of the Board, termed the Prime
Minister’s statement as a political gimmick to increase the falling
popularity graph of the BJP. However, he added that this is very sad that
the prime minister has given such an irresponsible statement. Not only
this, he is not ready to disclose with whom the talks are going on
regarding such a serious and emotive issue. It seems as if all the allies
of BJP and the Indian Parliament have been taken to ransom by the saffron
brigade, he added.
Mufti Manzoor Ahmad, the Shaher Qazi of Kanpur, also expressed his
surprise at the statement of Mr. Vajpayee. He added that ‘imams’ who
have been assured of salaries may come to the rescue of the prime
minister, otherwise no responsible person or organization may think of
bypassing the Muslim Personal Law Board to discuss the Babri Masjid issue.
Mr. Nehaluddin of All India Muslim Forum strongly criticized the statement
of the prime minister and termed it as an attempt to misguide the people.
He said that only Muslim Personal Law Board is the competent authority to
take any decision in this regard. Any other organization, howsoever
important, does not have any locus standi in this issue.
Qazi Abdul Sami, an ‘alim of Kanpur, clarified that during his meeting
with Mr. Vajpayee in Lucknow he did not discuss the Babri Masjid issue. In
a statement Qazi Saheb clarified that he has only expressed his support to
the Kashmir policy of the government and has congratulated the PM for the
Agra summit. q