Sunni board says 5-acre mosque land accepted

UP Sunni Central Waqf Board has said that it had already accepted the five acre alternative land given by the UP government for the construction of a mosque in Ayodhya as per Supreme Court’s order. Board chairperson Zufar Faruqi clarified that “it never had the liberty to reject it” once it had said that it would abide by the apex court’s verdict.

“The question of accepting or rejecting the land was never raised by us. Those who had not been given the land by SC were making all the noise about not accepting it. We had decided to follow the apex court’s decision,” Faruqi said.

As per the SC order, the UP government had identified a plot of land under Raunahi police station in Sohawal tehsil of Ayodhya district.

The Sunni board has been mum about its future course of action after the Ayodhya verdict. Now, it has clarified that it will decide the next step in its meeting on February 24. On allotment of land by the UP government, Faruqi said, “The November 9, 2019 apex court order was very clear that the state government will allot us a plot and we had liberty to build a mosque and associated amenities on it. We did not have the liberty of not accepting the land as that would have been contempt of court.”

When asked what would be decided in the February 24 meeting, Faruqi said board members will decide “zameen pe kya karna hai aur kaise karna hai (what is to be done on the land and how to go about it)”. While the board has received the government’s letter, it is yet to send a reply. It will do so after February 24. Besides Faruqi, the board has seven members.

“We have received several proposals from the public suggesting using the land for charitable causes. A proposal to build an Islamic cultural centre along with a mosque has also come up,” Faruqi said. He added that the five-acre land is big enough to have a mosque as well as other amenities. “Babri Masjid was built on just one-third of an acre. Even if we replicate the same mosque, which is locally not even required, there will still be space left,” he said. Faruqi said the Babri Masjid will cease to exist in the board’s records.

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