Zafaryab Jilani, a senior advocate in the Allahabad High Court and convenor of the Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC) which has been fighting the Babri Masjid case on behalf of Muslims, on Wednesday clarified that the recent statements attributed to the petitioners in the case are incorrect.
Earlier on Wednesday, statements from Haji Mehboob, a member of the Sunni Waqf board which is a defendant in the Babri Masjid case, has been cited in the media as supporting a speedy resolution to the case. That directly contradicts the stand taken by senior advocate Kapil Sibal in the Supreme Court on Tuesday. Sibal had requested the court to not hear the matter until July 2019, until the next Lok Sabha elections are over.
Speaking to ANI, Mehboob said: "Yes, Kapil Sibal is our lawyer, but he is also related to a political party. His statement in the court yesterday (Tuesday) was wrong. We want a solution to the issue at the earliest. We have got nothing to do with his statement."
Sibal told the top court that whenever this matter is heard, there are serious repercussions outside the court and to preserve the decorum of law and order, and that he personally requests court to take this matter up on July 15, 2019, once all the pleadings are complete.
"Haji Mehboob is a defendant in one of the cases going on in the Supreme Court. He is our associate and we are doing his legal defense as well. However, his statement in the context of Mr Kapil Sibal's statement in the court on Tuesday is unnecessary and irrelevant. Someone must have stuck a camera in his face and asked him a question, which he seems to have answered, even though the matter is beyond his brief," said Jilani.
Jilani also said the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, which is handling the legal case along with the team of senior advocates, including Sibal, completely backs Sibal's statement in the court. "Whatever Mr Sibal said was after consulting us and we one hundred per cent stand by his remarks," he said. Thus, the question of an out-of-court settlement in which the Sunni Waqf Board gives up its claims fully or partially over the site of the Babri Masjid remains out of the question.
Jilani clarified that at least three senior representatives of the Muslim Personal Law Board were present before, during and after the court hearing on Tuesday along with the team of lawyers, including Sibal. Two general secretaries and the convener were present and they have no disagreement with the statement of Sibal either, Jilani said.
"In fact, things are turning out exactly as Mr Sibal had predicted in the court. A campaign of misinformation is underway and those behind it are using a person who has nothing to do with this aspect of the case. It is extremely unfortunate," he added.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday fixed the next hearing for the long-standing Ayodhya dispute matter for February 8, 2018. The court commenced the hearings in the Ayodhya dispute on Tuesday morning.
Following this, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah, in a press briefing, took a potshot at the Congress Party and its vice president, Rahul Gandhi, for adopting “double standard” in the matter.
Now that Sunni Waqf Board has said that they don’t agree with what Kapil Sibal said in court, it is certain that Mr. Sibal spoke in his capacity as a Congress leader, with the blessings of their High Command. Shameful posturing by Congress on Ram Temple issue!— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) December 6, 2017
Addressing the media in Ahmedabad, Shah said Rahul was visiting temples in Gujarat, while on the other hand Sibal wanted to delay the Ram Janmbhoomi case.
The Congress then furthered the war of words and said the BJP was raking up non-issues just to garner votes.
"The Congress' stand has always been clear, that the Ayodhya matter will be heard and decided by the Supreme Court. The same has been said by the law minister many times. BJP chief Amit Shah is trying to garner votes in the name of Lord Rama. The BJP is playing the role of 'Manthara', raking up Kapil Sibal's stand on the hearing," Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said, while addressing the media.