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Published in the 1-15 Jan 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Who is this Rizvi?

I am surprised to see the report in your issue of 16-31 December, 2003 on the activities of Shri S. A. A. Rizvi who is parading in and out of Ayodhya for the last few months on an assignment from the Ministry of Home Affairs, to sell a ‘solution’ to the Ayodhya Muslims.

I had known Shri Rizvi in the late 80’s as a colleague of the late Prince Anjum Quder, then President of the All India Shia Conference who disowned him for his activities.

Mr. Rizvi claims that he has established an Ayodhya Jama Masjid Trust which shall build a Masjid on a piece of land in Ayodhya donated by a Mahant and that some of the Muslim plaintiffs in the Ayodhya title suit have agreed to withdraw their claim to the disputed land.

First, I have personally checked and find that no prominent member of the Muslim community of any significance in Ayodhya has agreed to his proposal and everyone whom he contacted has told him that the only organization competent to negotiate an out-of-court settlement is the All India Muslim Personal Law Board and that any proposal has to be placed before its leadership for consideration.

Secondly, no plaintiff has agreed to withdraw his plaint. What is more important is that the suit is a representative suit between the two communities and no withdrawal from either side shall affect the nature and course of the proceedings.

Thirdly, Mr. Rizvi should reveal the names of the Trustees, if the Trust has been registered and the names of the donors if he has collected any funds for the construction.

I shall refrain from commenting on his words of sympathy and compassion for the Muslim community. That is a mask that any political adventurer can put on.

As far as I know he is acting under the direct command of Swami Chinmayananda, the VHP leader who is now the MOS in the Vajpayee Government.

The Milli Gazette should recall that right from 1986, Muslim leadership has been threatened, ridiculed, coerced, cajoled and influenced to ‘shift’ the Babari Masjid to another site or to hand over the site for a ‘consideration’. So Shri Rizvi’s gambit is nothing new – it is a variation on an old theme, which deserves to be rejected out of hand. 

May I add that in Ayodhya there are still 30 odd Masjids, many in bad shape because there is resistance to their repair. Why doesn’t Mr. Rizvi undertake the repair of the existing Masjids first, before building a new Masjid?

Syed Shahabuddin

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