The All India Babri Masjid Action Committee (AIBMAC) convener Zafaryab Jilani has rejected the appeal by a group of Muslim intellectuals and eminent personalities to hand over the disputed 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya to the Supreme Court as a goodwill gesture, saying they have no say in the matter.
Zafaryab Jilani said on Friday (11 October), "I know Lt Gen Zamir Shah but who else knows him? Who are they to offer the Ayodhya land as a gesture of goodwill? Does the larger Muslim population know anything about them? I don't know what their agenda is and I don't care what they have to say in the matter. Not even 0.1 per cent Muslims knows who they are."
The forum comprising a cross-section of Muslims including retired bureaucrats, soldiers, lawyers, journalists, doctors and businessmen, had, on Thursday, said that out-of-court settlement in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janambhoomi dispute was the only solution that could make both Hindus and Muslims happy as no party would feel aggrieved.
The members accepted that they had no stake in the dispute but stated that they would submit a resolution to the Ayodhya mediation panel formed by the Supreme Court.
Jilani, however, snubbed the request, and said, "They are just a group of retired government servants with no say in the matter".
Former Indian army deputy chief, Lt Gen Zameeruddin Shah (retd) had said that after 40 years in the army, he had come to the conclusion that war could never offer any solution.
He had also said that the Muslim community should realise that even if the court order was in their favour, they would not be able to construct a mosque on the spot.
"In such a situation for lasting peace and saving the country from communal holocaust, the Muslims should hand over the land to Hindus through the government of India," he said.
Lt Gen Shah said that he and his associates had made the suggestion for mediation as they had their "ears to the ground".
Retired IAS officer, Anis Ansari said that the Indian Muslims for Peace was making the effort under the Supreme Court's directions to keep the mediation process on.
He said that the group had already met senior advocate Sriram Panchu, member of the Supreme Court appointed Justice F M I Kallifullah mediation committee.
However, Lt Gen Shah admitted that they had not interacted with either the Nirmohi Akhara or representatives of Ram Lalla Virajman - the other two parties to the dispute.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)