NEW DELHI: Hours after being expelled from the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), former executive member Maulana Salman Nadwi said that an amicable settlement of the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute was imperative for Hindu-Muslim peace and unity.
After returning to Lucknow from the AIMPLB’s 26th plenary session in Hyderabad, Nadwi alleged that “hardliners” had hijacked the board, which forced him to distance himself from their “official” stance on the Ayodhya dispute.
“Hardliners in AIMPLB are overpowering the board and it’s stand on the Ayodhya dispute, so I stepped away and was made to step away. In 25 years, court could not do anything so it is better to have an out of court settlement for peace and unity,” Nadwi told TOI.
He opined that any ruling by the Supreme Court, which is currently hearing final arguments in the politically sensitive case, would be partisan and further divide the two communities.
“Board is saying it will wait for whatever the court decides, I’m saying why wait when you can sit together and decide for peace and stop any riot like situation in the future. Why have such disputes of land that separates people. What the court decides will hurt either one of the community,” he said.
Nadwi caused a stir on Saturday by suggesting the Babri Masjid be shifted away from the disputed site in Ayodhya. The remark courted immediate backlash from the AIMPLB, which asserted that land dedicated for a mosque cannot be sold, gifted or in any way alienated.
Standing by his view, Nadwi cited scriptures and said since the last time Muslims offered prayers at Babri Masjid was back in 1949, he was all for shifting the place of worship and save the country from further clashes instead of waiting for a seemingly interminable court judgement.
“I have been a teacher of theology for the last 40 years and I am talking of clauses present in the Sharia for such a disputable situation. There is no mosque there now, it was destroyed in 1992 and now we want to make a new mosque. Nobody removed the idols in 1949 or did anything when the locks were reopened and when riots took place after demolition,” he said.
Nadwi pointed out that AIMPLB is not a party to the dispute, but UP Sunni Central Waqf Board is and the latter stands with him on the issue. He also warned the UP Shia Waqf board to stay out of the matter as “they have no say in it”.
“The chairperson of the UP Waqf Board, Zufar Farooqui ji, is with me. Sri Sri Ravishankar, who I met with earlier in the week, is also supporting me. The entire Muslim community is with me on this,” he declared.
The Islamic scholar said he will continue to hold meetings with people from both sides of the spectrum, adding that the next meeting will be held in Ayodhya. Earlier in the day, Nadwi was sacked from AIMPLB for “going against the board’s unanimous stand” on the Babri Masjid issue. In a statement, the board said Babri Masjid is an essential part of faith in Islam and Muslims can never “abdicate” the mosque.