Sunni Central Waqf Board Chairman Zufar Farooqui on Monday said they will accept the five acres offered for a mosque in lieu of the disputed site in Ayodhya, PTI reported. The board, which was one of the main litigants in the case, has decided to constitute a trust to maintain the land.
On February 5, the Uttar Pradesh government allotted a five-acre spot at Dhannipur village in Ayodhya’s Sohawal area for a mosque as per the Supreme Court judgement. It had handed over the allotment letter to the Sunni Waqf Board earlier this month. The assigned property is located on the Ayodhya-Lucknow highway, and is about 20 km from the district headquarters.
The decision to accept the five acres of land in Dhannipur was taken during a general body meeting on Monday. “[At the meeting] It was decided to construct a mosque, a centre showcasing Indo-Islamic culture of several centuries, a centre for research and study of Indo-Islamic culture, a charitable hospital, a public library and other public utilities at the site,” Zufar Farooqui told the Hindu.
However, the size of the mosque along with the area it would occupy is yet to be decided, he added. Besides Farooqui, there are seven other members on the Sunni Waqf Board.
Earlier on Saturday, The Indian Express had reported that the board in a meeting on November 26 had “informally decided” to accept the five acres of land. “We had agreed that the five acres of land will be accepted because if we reject it, it will be contempt of court. But now, we have to decide whether the land will be accepted in Dhannipur,” an unidentified board member told the newspaper. “The land has been allotted by the state government and not the court… We will see how the members feel about this.”
On Friday, the board said that it did not have the option to reject the alternate piece of land given to it, but would decide how to use it when it meets on Monday. “We had been saying since the very beginning that we will abide by the court verdict on the issue, and because of this we did not go in for a review of the verdict,” Farooqui had said. “There has been no shift in our stand.”
The alternate spot was a point of controversy because some of the Muslim litigants in the case had said it was too far away from Ayodhya.
In a landmark ruling in November, the top court said the disputed land in Ayodhya would be assigned to a trust that will oversee the construction of a Ram temple there. The court also ruled that the Sunni Waqf Board be allotted five acres of land at another plot in Ayodhya to compensate for the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992.