The Sunni Waqf Board on Wednesday distanced itself from Haji Mehboob – who claimed to be a member of the board – saying he does not represent the board in any capacity. Uttar Pradesh chairman of the board, Zufar Ahmed Farooqui, said Mehboob was just another plaintiff in the case, and the Sunni Waqf Board did not agree with his personal opinion, IANS reported.
Earlier on Wednesday, Mehboob said he disagreed with lawyer Kapil Sibal’s request in the Supreme Court to adjourn the final hearing in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi case until after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, ANI reported.
Mehboob told ANI: “Yes, Kapil Sibal is our lawyer, but sometimes, from his statements, it seems that he is part of a political party. I know him as a lawyer, not as a political leader. He is wrong, we want a solution in the matter at the earliest.”
However, the Sunni Waqf Board on Wednesday clarified that neither was Mehboob a part of their board, nor was Sibal representing them in the case. Advocate Shakil Ahmed, one of the lawyers arguing for the Sunni Waqf Board in the case, said that Mehboob has “no connection” with his client.
Zafaryab Jilani, a member of the Babri Masjid Action Committee, told IANS, “Whatever Kapil Sibal said in the Supreme Court yesterday [on Tuesday] was said after thorough consideration and after taking us into confidence. We totally support his stand.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also praised the Mehboob’s stand, saying, “The Sunni Waqf Board must be congratulated for their brave stand on the matter and disassociating themselves from the statement of Shri Kapil Sibal.”
Senior Congress leader Sibal clarified that he was not appearing for the Sunni Waqf Board in the case, and asked the prime minister to check facts. “Actually, I never represented the Sunni Waqf Board in the Supreme Court,” Sibal told ANI. “And yet he thanked the Sunni Waqf Board for the statement...I would request the prime minister to be a little more careful before making public comments of this nature.”
Meanwhile, the other plaintiff in the case, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, on Wednesday said the counsels representing Muslim parties had made the request to defer the hearing as per the instruction of their respective clients, ANI reported. “As a representative body, the board endorses and confirms the said statement of the counsels made in the court,” it added.
The board further said that statements made by leaders asserting the construction of Ram temple at the disputed site was “unfortunate”. AIMPLB said it condemned the remarks as the case was subjudice.
Sibal, senior Congress leader, on Tuesday had said there are “serious repercussions” outside court every time the matter is heard. However, the court denied his request to defer the hearing and adjourned the matter to February 8.
The top court on Tuesday took up 13 appeals filed against the Allahabad High Court judgment that ruled a three-way split of the disputed 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya among the Sunni Waqf Board, a Hindu organisation called the Nirmohi Akhara, and Ram Lalla or Infant Rama, which is represented by the Hindu Mahasabha, for the construction of the Ram temple.
In May, a special Central Bureau of Investigation court granted bail to senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and others accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case.
On December 6, 1992, the mosque was demolished by lakhs of karsevakswho had gathered at the site from across the country. The incident had triggered communal riots across the country. The karsevaks had claimed that the land on which the mosque stood was the birthplace of Ram.