HYDERABAD: AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi Friday said Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a member of the Supreme Court-appointed panel to mediate the Ayodhya dispute, was "not a neutral person" and claimed that he had made controversial comments on the issue in the past.
"Ravi Shankar had made controversial statements on November 4, 2018 on the Ayodhya issue and threatened that India may become like Syria if Muslims do not give up their claims on the disputed land," Owaisi told reporters here.
He had also said Muslims as a goodwill gesture should give up their claim on the disputed land, Owaisi said, adding he expected that Ravi Shankar should now act as a neutral person without keeping anything in mind.
"When he is connected with the subject matter, when he had made his position clear on which party's side he speaks. This is regrettable that such a person who is not neutral has been appointed by the supreme court," he said.
Owaisi, however, welcomed the court order for mediation.
"On behalf of my party I welcome this decision," he said.
"It would have been better had the Supreme Court appointed a neutral person. Even then I feel that Muslims should go to them (mediators)," Owaisi said.
The Hyderabad MP suggested that Muslims should go to the panel and voice their views.
Later in a tweet, Owaisi said the general principle was that mediators should be neutral to the parties of dispute and unconnected to the subject matter.
"Most High Court Civil Procedure Mediation rules disqualify mediators who are connected to the subject-matter or parties," he added.
The Supreme Court Friday referred the politically sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case for mediation by a panel headed by former apex court judge F M I Kallifulla and gave it eight weeks to complete the process.
Besides Ravi Shankar, the other member of the panel will be senior advocate Sriram Panchu.