Babri Masjid: Closed door tactics & secret parleys surprise many
New Delhi: In a secret meeting held at Delhi’s India’s Islamic Cultural Centre religious leaders tried to explore possibilities of an amicable solution to Mosque-Mandir issue. Describing their efforts as discussions and not negotiations the participants decided to meet once again on 2 November. AIMPLB member Kamal Farooqui, however, clarified that the meeting “is in line with the official stand of the AIMPLB that the Ayodhya verdict should be appealed and doors for negotiations however, should remain open.”
On an initiative of Swami Agnivesh, the meeting was attended by Kamal Farooqui, Khalid Rashid Firang Mahali, dewan (head) of Ajmer Sharif shrine Zainul Abedin, Islamic scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, RSS leader Indresh Kumar, Swami Chidanand, historian Devendra Swaroop, Father Dominique, Sardar Paramjeet Chandok (Sikh Manch), Swami Dootanand, Goswami Sushil Maharaj, Mazhar Husain of Hyderabad etc. Shri Shri Ravishankar was also telephonically contacted. The meeting was convened to persuade the contesting parties to accept the Allahabad verdict and decide the mosque’s claim out of the court without involving the SC. The 2 November meeting shall try to obtain meanwhile the opinions of legal experts and intellectuals from various places of the country.
The secret meeting sprang a surprise on media who were kept in dark. There was no official notice on the programme board of the Centre. Even the President of the Centre Sirajuddin Quraishi had no inkling about it. The reception was asked to maintain silence about it. Scheduled originally in the Board Room of the Centre, it was later on held in Conference Room No. 2 and lasted 2.30 hrs (2.00 pm to 4.30 pm).
It was proposed at the meeting that 67 acres of land acquired by the central government should be sought for the construction of a grand temple and a suitable location for the mosque be chosen outside the circle. It was reiterated that the sants would co-operate in constructing the mosque if the Musilms voluntarily give up their claim on 1/3 of the disputed plot. When Maulana Mahmood Madani was contacted to explain the purpose behind the meeting, he first declined to say anything and then later on elaborated – for maintaining peace and amity in the country. Let it be recalled that in his personal capacity Maulana Mahmood had asked the Muslims to accept the verdict. Swami Agnivesh appealed to the correspondents to maintain silence and not to leak any thing to the media. When Indresh Kumar (who name finds place in Ajmer Dargah blast chargesheet) was asked about the outcome of the meeting he informed that five bricks should be selected so that they represent the five faiths and these should be (as a token?) used in various places of worship to bring the entire dispute to an end. Maulana Wahiduddin was extremely angry when he came out of the meeting. He (either in anger or in happiness) declared that the 1/3 portion for mosque should also be given for temple construction. He declined to divulge anything.
Closed door tactics
New Delhi: Hum tum ek kamre mein band hon aur chabi kho jai was a very popular film song in the seventies. Surprisingly, secret meetings have become now an order of the day. No, we are not talking about what transpired at the Jaipur’s Gujarati Samaj guest house on 31 Oct, spiritually guided by Indresh Kumar. We are talking about the secret meetings held recently to resolve the deadlock on 30 Sept judgement.
The meeting at the Indian Islamic Cultural Centre remained inconclusive and was to be held again on 2 November. Obviously “ignorant” media thronged there to cover the secret meeting in which Indresh was no longer expected after the ATS exposure about the Ajmer blast. The parleys were to take place at a changed venue to avoid the media noise. The changed venue was the residence of media baron, Sameer Jain (ToI chairman) opposite Hotel Taj Mansingh, at Kothi No. 15. So media was totally bluffed; it was partially ‘outcasted’ – only the savarnas were there.
As imagined, the meeting that lasted 2 hours and half was attended by representatives of several religions – Swami Chitanand, Shri Shri Ravishankar, Swami Agnivesh, Swami Aryavesh, Doctor Sadhvi Sadhana (Jain), Swami Sushil Maharaj, and Mazhar-ul-Islam. Maulana Mahmood Madni and Kamal Farooqi were conspicuous by their absence. Dewan of the Ajmer shrine Zain-ul-Abidin represented the Muslim team. However there was a lot of fuss and denial on part of Amir Iliyas. While he categorically denied of having any knowledge about the meeting his car was seen there. First it was denied entry by the guard following which the guard was thrashed thrice. The car, instead of entering by the first door meant for all the invitees, chose the second gate. Why?
Such self-proclaimed representatives have been bargaining Muslims’ fate in total secrecy. What the community gets out of the barter and deal also remains a great mystery except the “beneficiaries” who are suitably rewarded. It is this trend, that Prof Akhtarul Wasey, Director, Islamic Studies Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia strongly condemns. Discussions are always welcome but these should be with total transparency. As the case has reached the court; let the matter be decided by the court. Politicians should devote their energies to nation building. In such transparent discussion there shall be no fear of media medaling - there shall be no occasion to fear – hum tum ek kamre mein band hon, aur media aa jaye.