- "It is an issue of sentiment and religion," the Supreme Court has said
- Babari Masjid was pulled down in 1992, a Ram Mandir was proposed there
- The BJP has said it will explore constitutional options to build temple
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"It is an issue of sentiment and religion. First sit together and sort out. Both sides employ moderators and hold meetings," said Chief Justice JS Khehar, while hearing an urgent appeal from senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy. "We can come into the picture if you can't solve the issue," he had added.
Mr Swamy had requested the top court to take up an appeal to build the Ram Mandir. In his response to Mr Justice Khehar, Mr Swamy said it is difficult to make both communities sit together and judicial intervention is needed in the matter.
"If you want some principal mediator, we can arrange," the Chief Justice said. Asked if he would want to mediate, Chief Justice Khehar said in a lighter vein, "If you want me I can, but will not sit in the bench."
Union minister and senior BJP leader Mahesh Sharma has said the Centre would "love to mediate between the two sides".
Welcoming the court's "concern, Zafar Yab Gilani, the Convener of Babri Masjid Action Committee, said, "We we wish to inform the court that private negotiations are not possible... For the last 31 years, we have been trying. If the Chief Justice nominates some bench to intervene, that could happen".
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said, "I welcome what the court has said. Both sides can sit down to find an amicable solution. The government is ready to extend any cooperation to facilitate dialogue."
The proposed Ram temple in Ayodhya has been one of the most controversial and divisive issues over the last 25 years.
The BJP has said it is committed to exploring all constitutional options to ensure that the temple is built in Ayodhya. Ahead of the elections in Uttar Pradesh, BJP chief Amit Shah had said there was no contradiction between the temple issue and development, his party's primary poll plank, and they can "co-exist".
Yesterday, during his first meeting with top officials, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had distributed copies of the BJP manifesto and asked his officials to begin work on its implementation.
The makeshift temple in Ayodhya came up after Kar Sevaks, in 1992, had pulled down a masjid which had been standing on the spot since the days of Mughal Emperor Babar. The site was popularly believed to be the birthplace of Lord Ram. Various religious sects have been pushing for the building of a grand temple there.