The Shia Waqf board told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that a mosque can be built in a Muslim-dominated area at a reasonable distance from the site of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, NDTV reported. “If the Ram temple and mosque co-exist it will lead to conflicts,” the board told the apex court.

The board also asserted that the Babri masjid site was its property, and that it was entitled to hold negotiations on it. The board has suggested that a panel headed by a retired Supreme Court judge should be formed to start talks on the dispute. It added that the panel should also include nominees from the Prime Minister’s Office and the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister’s Office.

On August 4, the Supreme Court had said it would hear the dispute on August 11, following a plea for urgent hearing by Bharatiya Janata Party MP Subramanian Swamy. He had asked for urgent listing of the case, adding that the main petitioners in the case have been waiting for seven years.

The dispute

The dispute over the ownership of the 2.7 acres of Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land has raged on for decades. On December 6, 1992, the mosque was demolished by Hindu volunteers gathered at the site. The incident had triggered communal riots across the country.

In September 2010, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court had divided the site where the mosque once stood into three – two parts for Hindus and the third for Muslims. All the parties involved had challenged the decision in the Supreme Court.

In March this year, the Supreme Court had suggested that the matter be resolved outside of court. It had said the subject was sensitive and sentimental, and asked all the parties to sit together and attempt to sort it out. It had added that it would appoint a mediator if out-of-court negotiations fail.