The Sunni Central Waqf Board has called a crucial meeting on February 24 in which a decision is likely to be taken on accepting alternative land for a mosque in Ayodhya.
All the eight members of the board have been invited to take part in the meeting.
The Uttar Pradesh government has allotted a 5-acre plot for the mosque at Dhannipur village in Sohawal tehsil of Ayodhya district, nearly 25 kilometres away from the Ram Janmabhoomi temple complex.
Sources said the Sunni Central Waqf Board would not only decide whether to accept the land but also about the usage of the land if it decides to take possession. There are several proposals like building a hospital or school at the site.
A senior member of the Sunni Central Waqf Board said, “All the members have been informed and called to the key meeting. The board will first decide whether it should accept the land or not, after which it will be discussed if the board wants to construct a mosque or a public utility like a hospital or school on the land.”
The sources said that two out of the eight members — Syed Imran Khan and Abdul Razzaq — were not in favour of accepting the alternative land for the mosque as it violates Sharia However, Sunni Central Waqf Board Chairman Zufar Ahmad Farooqui is confident that the proposal to accept the land will be passed by the members.
Meanwhile, litigants in the Babri case said that the land allotted by the UP government was too far from Ayodhya town and the government should find some other land closer to Ayodhya otherwise they would be left with no alternative but to approach the Supreme Court once again.
“The site for the mosque is too far from Ayodhya. It will be difficult for people to go that far to offer Namaz. The decision should be reconsidered and land must be allotted nearby,” said Haji Mahboob, one of the litigants.
Iqbal Ansari, son of Hashim Ansari, one of the main parties in the case, also said that the alternative land should be close to the temple-mosque site. “The allotted land is quite far from Ayodhya. It should be within the municipal limits of Ayodhya. It is now up to the Sunni Waqf Board to accept the land or not,” he said.