Ayodhya Dispute: Shankaracharya Up for Talks

Ayodhya Dispute: Shankaracharya Up for Talks
Kanchi Shankaracharya Swami Jayendra Saraswati favoured an out-of-court settlement of the Ayodhya title dispute, saying it is better if the matter is resolved through negotiations rather than being taken to the Supreme Court.

"It would be better if the matter is resolved in this manner (through talks between the two communities) rather than going to the supreme court," the Shankaracharya told reporters here.

Jagatguru Shankaracharya of Kanchi Kamkoti Peeth said he will go to Kashi tomorrow and stay there for five days to meet and talk to different sections of people to resolve the issue.

The Shankaracharya, who arrived here this morning and offered prayers at his "math", also claimed that he had a formula for resolving the issue which would be acceptable to all but refused to divulge the details, saying that making it public could create hurdles in the ongoing talks.

Asked whether the UPA wanted a resolution of the issue, he said the ruling alliance was silent because whichever way the issue goes, the Centre was not comfortable with it.

Lashing out at the Home Minister P Chidambaram for his statement on "saffron terrorism", the Shankaracharya said it was wrong as both the RSS and VHP had been doing good work.

Meanwhile, Ram Janmbhoomi Nyas President Nritya Gopal Das, who also met the Shankaracharya, said that he had asked the latter to stay here for Diwali and "Annkoot" and resolve the issue as he enjoyed the confidence of both Hindus and Muslims alike.

The Shankaracharya said that his visit to Ayodhya was for having darshans and taking part in pujas. He said he was ready to help in getting a good engineering college built in Ayodhya if he was offered some fifty acres of land.

Claiming that the Vajpayee government had come close to solving the vexed issue by enacting a law, the Shankaracharya said it could not happen as a court case was filed just 15 days before the law was to be given a final shape.

"After due consultations with the members of the Muslim Personal Law Board, Sunni Central Waqf Board and Hindu outfits, the Vajpayee government had paved the way for enacting a law for resolving the issue in 2002", the religious leader, who had played a pivotal role in the talks, said.

"Vajpayee had also met the president in this regard and decks had been cleared for issuing a statement in Parliament for enacting a law," Saraswati said describing it as a very good proposal.

Praising former Union minister George Fernandes for playing a very important role in the attempt to resolve the issue, the Shankaracharya said it could not materialise due to a court case filed just 15 days before it could be given a final shape.

Meanwhile, the Shankaracharya assured a group of prominent Muslim leaders of the town who met him at his "Math" that he would make another attempt to resolve the vexed Ayodhya issue through negotiations.

"The Shankaracharya had made an honest move in 2002 for resolving the issue and had brought a formula which was positive and was liked by all and we requested him to make another attempt in this direction and he agreed", All India Muslim Personal law Board special invitee Khaliq Ahmed, who was part of the delegation, said.

Clarifying that the Muslim Personal Law Board had never opposed resolving the issue through negotiations, Ahmed said if any new proposal is put forward it would be considered or else the option of resolving the matter through court was always there.

The Shankaracharya had earlier met the mahant of Akhara Parishad, Gyan Das who along with main litigant in the case, Hashim Ansari is making efforts for a negotiated settlement at his Hanuman Garhi residence and spent about an hour there.

The Mahant later said that the Shankaracharya wanted to know about our formula but we told him that both the sides are happy with it.

The organisation secretary of the VHP Rajendra Singh Pankaj and Trilok Nath Pandey who is the best friend of Ram Lal and has been given one-third land by the court also met the Shankaracharya.

However, making it clear that he will not initiate any negotiations on his own, the Shankaracharya said, "If anybody wants my cooperation he should come to me."

Reacting to Saraswati's stand Ayodhya's powerful Mahant Gyan Das, who is leading the present negotiation process, said, "We are also ready to welcome anybody who wants to cooperate in this peace process but we will also not go to any one."
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