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Ready to hand over land for Ram temple: Shia Wakf Board

Claiming the right over the disputed site at Ayodhya, the Shia Wakf Board on Friday said it’s ready to hand it over to Hindus for construction of a temple at the birthplace of Lord Ram.

On behalf of the Shia Wakf Board, advocate MC Dhingra told a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi that the Allahabad High Court in its September 30, 2010 verdict ruled that it was not a Sunni Wakf.
However, the High Court had said one-third of the disputed land should be given to Muslims, he said. By implication, it meant that the High Court wanted one-third of the disputed land to be given to Shias, Dhingra said, adding the Shias were ready to give their share of the land to Hindus for construction of Ram Temple. The SC is hearing cross-appeals challenging the High Court’s verdict dividing the disputed site between Ram Lalla, Nirmohi Akhara and Muslims.

When asked by the court as to why did Shias challenge a 1946 verdict dismissing their suit seeking declaration that it was a Shia Wakf after seven decades, Dhingra said at that time there was violence due to Partition and then in 1949 locks were placed on the structure.

The Hindu side completed its arguments with Hindu Mahasabha counsel Hari Shankar Jain contending that a Hindu place of worship can’t become a mosque simply because Muslims offered namaz.

Invoking the “faith” of millions of Hindus that Lord Ram was born at Ayodhya, Ram Lalla’s counsel had earlier claimed exclusive right over the disputed 2.77-acre land — ordered to be divided equally between the deity, Nirmohi Akhara and the Muslim side by the Allahabad High Court.

During Friday’s hearing senior BJP leader Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy was also seen sitting in the courtroom in the post-lunch session.

The Bench — which also included Justice SA Bobde, Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice S Abdul Nazeer — will resume hearing on Monday when it will hear arguments from the Muslim side.

Senior counsel alleges threat
Senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan — who is representing Muslim side in the Ayodhya land dispute — has moved the Supreme Court for initiation of criminal contempt proceedings against a Chennai-based academic, Prof N Shanmugham, for allegedly threatening for representing Muslims