Shortly after the Supreme Court ordered that a court-appointed panel undertake mediation to resolve Ayodhya’s Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case, the former judge leading the panel, FM Khalifullah, Sri Sri Ravishankar (another member of the panel) along with AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik and BSP chief Mayawati reacted to the development.
The apex court in its order on Friday appointed a panel, headed by former Supreme Court judge FM Khalifullah, and also comprising spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar and lawyer Sriram Panchu.
Reacting to the development, Ravishankar, said that all parties must move together to end long-standing conflicts. “We must all move together towards ending long-standing conflicts happily by maintaining harmony in society,” Ravishankar said. “Respecting everyone, turning dreams to reality, ending long-standing conflicts happily and maintaining harmony in society – we must all move together towards these goals,” he tweeted.
However, the president of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), Owaisi objected to the spiritual guru’s appointment to the panel.
He said that Ravishankar’s appointment to the panel goes against High Court rule 6, subsection C for the civil procedure for mediation. It says, “any person who is interested or connected with the subject matter of the dispute, or is related to any of the parties or to those who represent them, unless such an objection is waived by all parties in writing.”
Saying that the Supreme Court should have brought in a more “neutral” person in place of him, he said: “Sri Sri Ravishankar had on 4 November, 2018 made a statement saying ‘if Muslims don’t give up their claim on Ayodhya, India will become like Syria.'”
He also expressed hope that Ravishankar “keeps in mind that he is now a mediator, and removes his 4 November, 2018 comment from his mind”.
Speaking to media after the announcement, the retired judge said: “I understand that the Supreme Court has appointed a mediation committee headed by me, but I am yet to receive the order call. So for the present, I can only say that we will take every effort to resolve the issue amicably,” CNN-News18 quoted him as saying.
Meanwhile, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati also took to Twitter to respond to the news. She said that her party “welcomes” the Supreme Court’s decision. She wrote:
Hon'ble Supreme Court's order to constitute in-camera mediation (in Faizabad) in order to resolve the Ayodhya matter seems an honest effort. Hon'ble Court looking for "a possibility of healing relationships" is an appreciable move. BSP welcomes it.
— Mayawati (@Mayawati) March 8, 2019
In addition to Mayawati, the Nationalist Congress Party has also welcomed the decision. “We welcome the appointment of the three-member mediation panel. If the dispute is resolved, it will be in national interest. The nation is hopeful that the issue would be resolved through consensus,” NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said in a statement.
CPM leader Brinda Karat also responded, saying that the previous mediation efforts had failed to yield results. But this time, the Supreme Court is monitoring it and all the parties who have gone to the court are in agreement with the decision. The results remain to be seen, she said.