Uttar Pradesh government spokesperson and cabinet minister Srikant Sharma said five-acre land had been allotted to Sunni Central Waqf Board in Dhannipur village located in Sohawal tehsil in Ayodhya district.
Soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced in Parliament a trust to manage the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya, the state cabinet gave its approval to the proposal for allotment of five-acre land to UP Sunni Central Waqf Board for the construction of a mosque as ordered by the Supreme Court in the Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid case on November 9 last year.
Uttar Pradesh government spokesperson and cabinet minister Srikant Sharma said five-acre land had been allotted to Sunni Central Waqf Board in Dhannipur village located in Sohawal tehsil in Ayodhya district. “The land is located 18 km away from the district headquarter Faizabad, 200 metre away from the highway and has easy access. It’s the best spot for maintaining communal harmony as well as law and order,” he said.
A spokesperson of the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board said a meeting of the board would be held on February 24 for a decision on the government’s offer. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board and Jamiat Ulema-I- Hind, which represented the Muslim litigants in the court, had rejected the offer to allot five-acre land to Muslims for the mosque.
Addressing a press conference after the state cabinet meeting, Sharma said the land had been allotted to the Waqf Board in compliance with the Supreme Court order. “The court in its order had given three months’ time for the allotment of land for the construction of the mosque,” he said.
The state government had selected three spots near the highways passing Ayodhya for the mosque. All the three alternatives were forwarded to the central government that approved the land located in Dhannipur village on Lucknow-Gorakhpur highway. “The land is behind Raunahi police station and well connected with the highway,” Sharma said.
A state government officer, who did not wish to be named, said the sadhus, saints and the mahants had demanded that the land for the mosque should be allotted outside the “panchkosi parikarma” — the 15 km route that devotees take to pay their obeisance to Lord Ram—in Ayodhya.
“Dhannipur is located 18 km from the district headquarter Faizabad. From Ayodhya, its distance is around 25 km,” the officer said.
“Members of the Muslim and Hindu communities will not face any problem during festivities. There is a large chunk of vacant area near the five-acre land that can be used for religious congregation. The tehsil office and police station are also located near the spot,” he said.
On December 9, the state government had decided to expand the municipal limits of Ayodhya by including 41 villages. The state cabinet in its meeting had given its approval for the inclusion of the villages in Ayodhya municipal limit.
A state government officer said extra land was required for the construction of the basic infrastructure facilities in the temple town as the influx of pilgrims and tourists will increase after the construction of the Ram temple.