Muslim parties to the Ayodhya land title dispute case on Friday expressed shock at reports that the Sunni Waqf Board has decided to withdraw from the case, PTI reported. Advocate Eijaz Maqbool, who represented Muslim litigant M Siddiq in the case, said that all Muslim parties except the Sunni Waqf Board have rejected settlement, as the main Hindu parties were not part of the mediation process and its purported settlement.

“We must make it absolutely clear that we the appellants before Supreme Court do not accept the proposal made which has been leaked out to the press, nor the procedure by which the mediation has taken place nor the manner in which a withdrawal of the claim has been suggested as a compromise,” Maqbool said, according to NDTV. Shahid Rizvi, a lawyer for the Sunni Waqf Board, had described the proposal as a “win-win situation” for both parties.

Maqbool claimed that it was obvious that the report had been “leaked out either by the mediation committee or Nirvani Akhara which claim the right on the [Babri] mosque or others”.

Media reports had suggested on Wednesday that the Sunni Waqf Board had decided to give up its claim on the disputed site, as well as expressed no objections to a Ram temple being built on the land. The board had reportedly also offered to build a mosque at any other place. It had also asked the Centre to renovate existing mosques in Ayodhya.

On Wednesday, the mediation panel had filed a report in the top court in a sealed cover. “We have given our views to the mediation panel but we can’t disclose the details of the settlement plan which has been submitted to the court,” Rizvi had said. “It is a positive one and everyone – Hindus and Muslims – will be happy.”

The five-judge Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi reserved its judgment on Wednesday after a marathon 40-day hearing. The top court allowed the parties to make the rest of the submissions in writing by Saturday. The verdict is expected before Chief Justice Gogoi retires on November 17.

The daily hearings in the case began on August 6 after the mediation attempt failed. The top court, however, allowed the mediators – former Supreme Court judge FMI Kalifulla, religious leader Sri Sri Ravishankar, and senior advocate Sriram Panchu – to continue talks even as it started proceedings.

The dispute is several decades old, with both Hindu and Muslim groups claiming their right to the land. The Babri Masjid stood on the land before it was demolished in 1992 by Hindutva activists.

Scroll’s coverage of the Ayodhya dispute can be followed here and here.

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