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'No cemetery over there', says DM as SC lawyer urges Ayodhya trust to spare 'Muslim graveyard' 


LUCKNOW: A Supreme Court lawyer M R Shamshad on Tuesday wrote a letter to the Ram temple trust on behalf of 10 local Muslims of Ayodhya, appealing to the trust to spare five acres of land - around the demolished Babri Masjid where a graveyard is situated - when they construct the temple.

The land falls within the 67 acres of land around the temple site which was acquired by the Centre in 1991.

In the letter addressed to the trustees of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra, the lawyer made an emotional appeal saying that according to Sanatan Dharma, a Ram temple cannot be built on the graves of Muslims.

Ayodhya district administration, however, denied the presence of any graveyard within the 67 acre land of Ram Janmabhoomi complex area. “At present, there is no graveyard within the 67-acre campus of the Ram Janmabhoomi,” District Magistrate, Ayodhya, Anuj Jha said.

“The Supreme Court was apprised of all facts during the hearing of the case (Ayodhya title dispute), including contents of the letter (written by lawyer MR Shamshad). This issue also came up during the hearing of the case. All these facts are also clearly mentioned in the judgment of the apex court (on November 9, 2019),” Jha added.

“It was after the Supreme Court’s order that the 67-acre land was transferred to the Centre. No graveyard exists at the Ram Janmabhoomi,” the DM said. “We are abiding by the apex court order,” he added.

The apex court, in its judgment in the decades-old Ayodhya title suit case on November 9 last year, had ruled in favor of the Hindu litigants and handed over entire 67-acre land and 2.77-acre land (disputed before the judgment) to the Centre for construction of Ram temple. The court also directed the Centre to constitute a Trust for the construction of the temple.

The lawyer, on his part, had written: “With all humility and respect to Lord Ram, I request you (Trust) to not use the land of about five acres on which graves of Muslims lie around the demolished (Babri) mosque.

It will be in violation of Sanatan dharma. The graves might not be visible today considering that the entire area has been treated differently since 1949,” says the letter, which was sent by post to the 10 trustees. “We hope the letter will be part of the trustees’ agenda in their meeting on February 19,” he told the media persons.

Meanwhile, the 15-member Shri Ram Teerth Kshetra Trust has invited veteran saint and Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas chief Mahant Nritya Gopal Das to its first meeting scheduled at the residence of Supreme Court lawyer K Parasaran, also a member of the new Trust, in New Delhi on Wednesday (February 19).

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Vice–President Champat Rai is also expected to participate in the meeting, sources said.

Earlier, exclusion of Mahant Nritya Gopal Das from the trust had led to disappointment and outrage among the saints and seers of Ayodhya. In such a scenario, the invitation to the Mahant is being seen as a step towards his inclusion in the temple body announced by PM Modi in Parliament early this month.

As per the highly placed sources, three members of the trust -– Swami Vasudevanand, Raja Bimelendra Pratap Mohan Mishra of Ayodhya royal family and Dr. Anil Mishra, an Ayodhya resident – had met 85-year-old Mahant on Monday in this connection.

The Mahant had played a pivotal role in temple movement. His absence in the newly announced trust had come as a surprise to the temple stakeholders.

The saints and seers of Ayodhya were up in arms when Union Home Minister Amit Shah intervened and convinced the Mahant of his inclusion in the trust through a consensus by the members already named by the government. The sources claim that the Shah has assured Mahant Nritya Gopal Das of his appointment as the chief of the trust.