Ayodhya tangle: Sri Sri Ravishankar starts talks amidst opposition in temple town

After meeting seers and Muslim leaders, he said there was scope for a peaceful ‘out-of-court’ settlement to the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute.

Published: 16th November 2017 09:25 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th November 2017 09:25 PM   |  A+A-

Sri Sri Ravishankar (File photo: EPS)

Express News Service

LUCKNOW: To evolve a consensus for the peaceful resolution of the vexed Ayodhya Ram temple issue lingering in courts for years, founder of Art of Living Foundation Sri Sri Ravishankar reached the temple town on Thursday morning. Sri Sri Ravishankar, who is on a mediation mission, said the issue could be resolved peacefully, paving the way for the grand Ram temple with the consent of both the communities. However, the stakeholders seemed more inclined to go by the Supreme Court verdict over the issue.

“Under the given socio-political atmosphere of the country, it is a golden opportunity for both the communities to come together and set an example of harmony and brotherhood,” said the Sri Sri. “Though all such previous efforts failed but now mindsets are changing,” he maintained exhorting society to educate the next generation about unity and secularism.

After meeting seers and Muslim leaders, he said there was scope for a peaceful ‘out-of-court’ settlement to the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute. “The task is difficult but not impossible. It may take time, maybe months, but the solution can always be there through dialogue,” he said.

The spiritual guru said he had offered to mediate with an open mind and heart with a firm belief that the disputes could always be resolved through love, amity, peace and endurance for each other. “Youth want end of the dispute. By and large people want a temple. I have no formula. I have come with an open mind or else how will I mediate?” he asked.   

On the opposition he was facing, he said, “Though there are some who don’t believe in such efforts, but it is the need of the hour to have a constructive solution to the tangle.” He added the court would certainly decide the issue, but 100 years down the line one of the two sides might feel lost out by the court order. “Then the issue may again crop up and recreate a bad blood between the two embroiled communities leading to disharmony,” he observed.  

Former BJP MP and a senior member of Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, Ram Vilas Vedanti and the VHP rejected the spiritual guru’s efforts and questioned his locus standi to mediate.

“Who is Sri Sri Ravishankar to mediate? He should continue running his NGO and hoarding foreign funds. He has amassed a lot of wealth, and to escape a probe he is meddling with the temple issue,” Vedanti said.

Refusing to meet the Sri Sri, Vedanti asked him to keep away as his formula was not acceptable to the parties locked in litigation. Vedanti is an accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case and is facing criminal proceedings in court.

Hindu leaders who had spearheaded the temple movement are apprehensive that any mediation effort will hijack the issue and it would slip off their hands. Even VHP’s Sharad Sharma refused to be a part of any consensus talks saying let the court decide the dispute.

Other stakeholders, including Iqbal Ansari, son of original litigant of Ayodhya dispute Hashim Ansari who died two years ago, expressed dubts over the mediation and rejected them. “Sri Sri has come to Ayodhya. He should do darshan of Ram Lalla and go back. We are ready to accept the Supreme Court verdict, be it in favour of a temple or a mosque,” Ansari said. However, Sri Sri had a one-to-one interaction with Ansari in a closed door meeting at the latter’s residence.

Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, president, Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, met the Sri Sri and welcomed his efforts. But Das claimed that the temple would be built at the birthplace of Lord Ram. “Talks are welcome but there won’t be any compromise on the site of the Ram temple. The mosque can be built anywhere else,” said the mahant, who heads the trust which takes care of the makeshift temple at disputed site.

Muslim leaders whom the Sri Sri met were said the talks should not lead to a repeat of 1992. “We can consider a compromise formula, but it is masjid land and the mosque should be constructed over it in 1020x90 square ft area where Babri masjid was standing,” said Haji Mahboob, a litigant in the case.

Meanwhile in state capital Lucknow, chief of Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad Mahant Narendra Giri met CM Yogi Adityanath.

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