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TNN | New Delhi | March 8, 2019:: The Supreme Court will pass its order on Friday on whether the more than 70-year-old litigation over Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid disputed land in Ayodhya should be referred for a mediated settlement.
Mediated settlement would be the preferred solution to the vexed issue, the SC had said on Wednesday, adding that it was not merely a litigation over a piece of land but a matter relating to hearts, minds and faith of a large swathe of the population.
Sending the issue for resolution through mediation will be a brave decision on the part of the bench comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer as the Hindu parties have stoutly opposed the move and called it a futile exercise.
In response to the SC’s proposition to the parties to suggest names of mediators, the Muslim parties and Nirmohi Akhara had separately submitted names. But the Hindu parties stuck to their stand that they were opposed to mediation and did not offer any names.
Four earlier attempts to find a solution to the dispute through mediation had failed, the first being in the 1990s when talks between Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Babri Masjid Action Committee broke down at a crucial stage.
The second and most significant effort for a negotiated settlement was made by the Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati in 2003. However, it broke down after his July 1, 2003, letter to the All India Muslim Personal Law Board which said, “Kashi, Mathura and Ayodhya, all three belong to Hindus and keeping in mind the larger interest of the country and communal harmony, if not today, but at some time or other, these places have to be given to the Hindus. The Muslims have to mentally prepare themselves for this.”
The third attempt fizzled out soon after then CJI J S Khehar in March 2017 suggested that he or another SC judge would be more than willing to become the mediator to bring the warring sides to the negotiating table. In the later half of 2017, attempts by spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Shia Wakf Board chairman Waseem Rizvi too failed to yield any result.