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Muslim bodies urged to join Babri legal fight

Vidya Subrahmaniam

New Delhi: The All-India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, the umbrella body of Muslim organisations, on Wednesday called upon “all prominent Muslim organisations, religious denominations, religious seminaries and the Babri Masjid Movement” to intervene in the appeal to be filed on behalf of Muslims in the Supreme Court against the Ayodhya title suits judgment.

The AIMMM also invited professional bodies representing “lawyers, historians, and archaeologists besides civil society and other progressive and secular groups” to join in the effort to challenge the judgment in the interest of upholding constitutional and judicial principles.

The Sunni Central Waqf Board, the main litigant for the Muslim side, has already announced its decision to appeal the verdict in the higher court. The All-India Muslim Personal Law Board too appears inclined to join the appeal as an intervener.

AIMMM convener Syed Shahabuddin suggested the formulation of a “common legal strategy” to bolster the appeal in the Supreme Court. Towards this end, he urged the AIMPLB to set up a “Babri Masjid Legal Defence Committee” with top lawyers and jurists from all over the country as participants.

In a separate statement, the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind also endorsed the move to appeal to the Supreme Court. This signals the coming around of JUH cleric Maulana Mehmood Madani who recently made a controversial appeal to Muslims to accept the High Court verdict. The JUH said nobody had the authority to gift away a mosque that been built according to the principles of sharia.

“No forceful or coercive occupation can change the status of a mosque. Therefore Muslims can never give up their claim to any part of the mosque which has been used as a mosque uninterruptedly for the last 400 years.”

The JUH said it had authorised an expert committee to decide the future course of action in consultation with senior lawyers. The committee members include JUH president Maulana Qari Mohammad Usman, Mr. Madani, Delhi High Court lawyer Niaz Ahmad Farooqui and Supreme Court lawyers Maulana Moiezuddin and Shakeel Ahmad Syed.

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