Ayodhya issue: Days ahead of a verdict, Muslim parties refuse mediation and settlement

IANS

The controversy in Ayodhya title dispute refuses to die down even as the verdict has been reserved on the matter on Wednesday.

A rift has emerged within Muslim parties, as the lawyers of the Sunni Waqf Board has expressed disagreement in connection with the settlement on the dispute through mediation.

A statement issued by five lawyers on behalf of the Muslim parties apparently hints at a conspiracy between mediation panel member Sriram Panchu and Sunni Waqf Board chairman Zufar Ahmad Farooqui in connection with the settlement of the 70-year-old politically sensitive dispute.

"That the leak to the press may have been inspired by either Mediation Committee directly or those who participated in the said mediation proceedings or participants. It needs emphasis that such a leak was in total violation of the orders of the Supreme court that had directed that such proceedings should remain confidential," said the lawyers, which also include advocate-on-record, Shakil Ahmed, for Sunni Waqf Board.

The statement said that timing of the leak to the press and its confirmation by advocate Shahid Rizvi, on behalf of the Waqf Board, on Thursday appears suspicious.

"On the very date when the hearing closed seems to have been well thought out. Panchu was also in the premises of the Supreme Court on October 16 and was communicating in the premises to Zufar Farooqui."

Rizvi, another lawyer for the Board, had told the media that Ayodhya needs settlement and not judgement, and is the opinion of the Chairman of the Board too.

The lawyers emphasized that it is difficult to accept that any mediation could have been done under the circumstances especially when the main Hindu parties had openly stated their non-participation in any settlement.

They insisted that on the last day of hearing, a communication was received from Panchu on behalf of Mediation Committee, but the same was not disclosed.

"The recent attempts before Mediation Committee were not representative," said the statement.

Lawyers insisted that the appellants before Supreme Court do not accept the proposal made which has been leaked to the press, nor the procedure by which the mediation has taken place nor the manner in which a withdrawal of the claim has been suggested as a compromise.
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