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Indian government requests court to expedite case, Muslims demand written request while Hindu outfit denies undertaking

New Delhi, March 6: In a significant move, the Central Government today approached the Allahabad High Court seeking a day-to-day hearing of the case relating to the Ayodhya dispute. 

A petition was filed by the Centre before the Lucknow Bench of the High Court requesting a direction that the hearing of the case relating to the dispute be taken up on a day-to-day basis. At present the case is moving at a snail's pace. The Mosque-Temple case itself has been dragging in various courts for the last fifty years since idols were surreptitiously installed in the Babri Mosque in December 1949.

The application was filed in the midst of a fresh initiative taken by the Centre to resolve the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, especially a day after the Kanchi Shankaracharya floated a formula for breaking the deadlock. 

The Indian government request impressed on the Court that under the Acquisition Act of 1993, the Union of India was statutory receiver with the obligation to maintain status quo till the disposal of the suits. It was spending about Rs 300 million annually in this regard. 

On the other hand, the All India Babri Masjid Action Committee, a party to the Ayodhya dispute, said today it would consider the Kanshi Shankaracharya's latest compromise proposal to end the impasse only when VHP gives in writing to the court clearly spelling out its demand for transfer of the acquired land. 

AIBMAC convener Zafaryab Jilani said in Lucknow "the proposals should be submitted to the court as the entire land, disputed and undisputed, is covered by the apex court's order to maintain status quo at the disputed site in Ayodhya." "The BJP and the VHP cannot be trusted after whatever happened in Gujarat," he added. "We are always prepared to resolve the vexed Ayodhya issue through peaceful means," he said, but expressed doubts over the sincerity of the VHP for a peaceful resolution.

Referring to the communal violence in Gujarat, he alleged that the VHP was trying to inculcate a sense of fear among the Muslims and said "no compromise is possible under duress or threat. Muslims do not trust the BJP and VHP." "The Muslims of the country cannot be cowed down by such threats as they know that the majority of the Hindu community is against the designs of the VHP," he said.

Shankaracharya of Govardhanpeeth Swami Adhokshajananda Tirth, an important Hindu religious leader, today came out strongly against a move to hand over the acquired land at Ayodhya to VHP saying the Sangh parivar (RSS family) was a group of "anti-social elements" which was spreading violence in the name of religion. 

Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, he alleged that the Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati who is mediating in the Ayodhya imbroglio was "being used and pressurised" by the Government to give legitimacy to the VHP's agenda which he said was not different from that of the BJP. 

"Even if the acquired land is given to the VHP leaders, I and my followers will not take it lying down. What can be constructed, can be finished also," he threatened. 
Criticising the VHP, RSS and Bajrang Dal, he said "they have nothing to do with religion. They are killers who in the name of religion and Ram temple kill innocent people." Adhokshajananda demanded a ban on VHP and arrest of its top leaders.

Continuing his search for a solution to the Ayodhya imbroglio, Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati on Wednesday held consultations with a delegation of Imams on the issue of handing over the acquired land to Ramjanambhoomi Trust.

The Imams led by Maulana Jameel Ahmed Ilyasi, President of All India Organisation of Imams of Mosques, said that they sought time till March 13 for holding discussions among themselves and arrive at a decision. Maulana Ilyasi said the Imams needed time to deliberate on the issue in view of the fact that the acquired land also consists of some Waqf property. Stating that both Hindus and Muslims should abide by the court verdict on the issue, he felt that the government was free to give the acquired land to either the temple or the mosque.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) today said, on the other hand, that it had agreed to participate in the resolution of the Ayodhya dispute brokered by the Kanchi seer Jayendra Saraswati as for the first time Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was directly involved in the matter. "That is why we agreed yesterday to consider a VHP proposal for constructing the Ram Temple outside the area where Babri Masjid stood before its demolition, till the court gives a final verdict on the disputed site", Kamal Farooqui, a member of the AIMPLB told PTI. 

Shankaracharya had yesterday told an 11-member AIMPLB delegation, led by its Secretary General Syed Nizamuddin, that VHP has agreed on three things -- that it would abide by the court verdict on the disputed site, if Muslims win the title case they (VHP) would stand guarantee to see that the mosque was constructed on its original site and the temple plan would be amended accordingly so as not to use the disputed site for construction of Garbh-griha (sanctum sanctorum), he claimed. The VHP has always claimed that the sanctum sanctorum of the temple will be where the mihrab of the mosque once stood.

But the VHP (World Hindu Organisation) denied today that the Ram Janambhoomi Trust has not given any commitment to abide by the court verdict in the Ayodhya dispute, but has given only an undertaking to maintain status quo. 

"We have not given any undertaking that we will abide by any verdict given by the court. We have said that the status quo will be maintained" VHP Vice-President Acharya Giriraj Kishore told reporters here. The significant statement came when reporters grilled him on whether the Trust President Mahant Paramhans Ramchandra Das had given any undertaking that it would abide by the court verdict as reported in the press following Kanchi Shankaracharya's statement yesterday. 

While sticking to the undertaking that the status quo would be maintained, he said, "at no cost the Babri mosque will be allowed to be rebuilt at the disputed site. For all practical purposes, it was a temple of Ram. It is and it will remain so." 

Asked what would be the VHP's response if the court ruled in favour of Muslims, he said, "the court verdict cannot be against history. It was on the court's orders that the temple's locks were opened and there are court orders that uninterrupted 'puja' (Hindu prayers) be allowed at the disputed site".

Imam of Delhi Jama Masjid Ahmed Shah Bukhari today said the efforts of Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati and Prime Minister's Office to resolve Ayodhya dispute were only intended to "divert" the people's attention from the "naked barbarism" in Gujarat. "There is no dispute. The matter is in the court. What is being discussed between seer, VHP or the PMO is a mystery as no decision, whether disputed or undisputed, can be achieved without the stamp of the court," Bukhari told reporters here. 

The Government was aware about the decision of VHP six months back and if such efforts had been initiated at that time, these could have been seen as a move to seek a solution, the Imam said and added "now the Centre is trying to dig the well when fire has already started." He said the entire exercise was a move to "trap" the minority community. "Talks have been held with Muslim Personal Law Board, who do not have any locus standi in the dispute," he said and lambasted the Board members for falling into the "trap laid by the Centre". "By raking up the Ayodhya dispute, Government is trying to divert the attention of people from the naked barbarism that took place in Gujarat last week," he added.

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