Sunni Waqf Board accepts alternative site, will decide how to use it

Soon after the Ayodhya verdict, there were suggestions that the board should not accept the land

UP Sunni Central Waqf Board, Ayodhya verdict, Ayodhya review petition,
Muslims offering sweets to each other after Supreme Court's verdict on Ayodhya land dispute. File Photo: PTI

The UP Sunni Central Waqf Board on Friday (February 21) said it does not have the option to reject the alternative piece of land given to it under the Supreme Court’s Ayodhya verdict but will decide how to use it when it meets on Monday (February 24).

In a historic verdict in November on the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of construction of a temple. It also ruled that an alternative five-acre plot must be found for a mosque.

Soon after the verdict, there were suggestions that the board should not accept the land.

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“Following the Supreme Court verdict, the Sunni Waqf Board does not have the choice of rejecting the five-acre alternative land for the construction of a mosque in Ayodhya as it would amount to contempt of court,” Farooqui said.

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“We had been saying since the very beginning that we will abide by the court verdict on the issue, and because of this we did not go in for a review of the verdict. There has been no shift in our stand,” he said.

“But on how to use the land given to us by the government, it will be decided at the all-important- meeting of the board slated on Monday, he said.

Farooqui said the apex court order clearly stated that the Uttar Pradesh government will allot a plot to the board and we had the liberty to build a mosque and associated amenities on it. “It did not say that the board had the liberty of rejecting it,” he added.

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Besides Farooqui, there are seven other members on the Sunni Waqf Board.

Earlier this month, the Uttar Pradesh government gave the allotment letter to the board for the plot in Dhannipur village in Ayodhya’s Sohawal tehsil. It is on the Ayodhya-Lucknow highway, about 20 km from the district headquarters.

Based on the SC verdict, the Centre had asked the Uttar Pradesh government to allot five acres of land to the Sunni Waqf Board.

The state cabinet made the allotment after its meeting of February 5.

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