Not everybody was happy when the Supreme Court ruled in favour of building a Ram temple at the disputed Ayodhya site last week, but Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board chairperson Zafar Farooqui remains firm in his decision to not pursue the matter anymore.
"There are two reasons for our decision. First, it had been our clear stand from day one that we would abide by the Supreme Court's verdict - whatever it may be. Second, this issue has created a deep divide in our society over the years. Going for a review could have meant vitiating the atmosphere again," Mr Farooqui told NDTV in an interview. The Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board was one of the main litigants in the case.
A five-judge constitutional bench had delivered a landmark judgment in the Ayodhya case on Saturday, handing the disputed land in its entirety for the construction of a Ram temple while directing that a separate five-acre plot be given to Muslim litigants. The unanimous decision received a mixed response, with Hindu groups terming it as a "balanced verdict" but others like Hyderabad politician Asaduddin Owaisi expressing their dissatisfaction.
There was also some disagreement on whether alternative land for the mosque should be accepted at all. "The opinions being expressed by the people are quite diverse, but we are still in the process of getting an opinion on the action required to comply with the order. Once that opinion comes in later this month, we will place it before the board," Mr Farooqui said.
Earlier on Wednesday, several Muslim leaders had said that the alternative land should come from the 67 acres of Ayodhya land acquired by the centre in the heat of the Ayodhya Ram temple-mosque dispute in 1991. "If they want to give us land, they should give it to us according to our convenience and only in the acquired land of 67 acres. Otherwise, we will reject the offer," news agency PTI had quoted Iqbal Ansari, one of the main litigants in the case, as saying.
Mr Farooqui, however, told NDTV that he couldn't possibly speak for other Muslim litigants in the case. "See, every party is free to take its decision. The Sunni Waqf Board decided to not go for a review, and gave me the power to deal with the issue. However, the other stakeholders -- including the All India Muslim Personal Law Board -- are free to take their own decisions. I can't force my views on them."
Waqf Board counsel Zafaryab Jilani had earlier claimed that a review will be sought in view of "contradictions" in the verdict, only to have the suggestion shot down by Mr Farooqui. Mr Jilani subsequently clarified that he was reacting in his capacity as the AIMPLB secretary, and not as the Waqf Board lawyer.
(With inputs from PTI)