Ayodhya: Litigants welcome talks but stick to stated positions

Ayodhya: Litigants welcome talks but stick to stated positions

Amid efforts by Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to help find an out-of-court settlement of Ayodhya dispute, the main litigants today said they were ready for talks but refused to budge from their stated positions.

The oldest Hindu litigant, Mahant Ram Das of the Nirmohi Akhara, said, "We are ready to talk to anyone for peaceful and early construction of Ram temple on the disputed side, but we won't accept construction of any mosque in the disputed acquired area or near it".

Khaliq Ahmad Khan, nominee of Maulana Fazlurrahman, who is a party to the case, said that Muslims have always welcomed efforts towards negotiations in Ayodhya issue.

"But before starting the talks, the mediator must make it very clear in his mind that we will talk of mosque also," he told PTI.

The Art of Living Foundation has said in a statement that Ravi Shankar has been in touch with several imams and swamis, including Mahant Ram Das.

The Foundation, however, said it was too early to draw any conclusions and that these discussions were not done on behalf of the government.

Iqbal Ansari, who replaced his father Hashim Ansari as litigant in the case after his death, said "it is a good move by Ravi Shankar, but we will talk on Babri Masjid also".

"He must have some solution for our demand also," he said.

Ansari said Ravishankar must make it clear as to "with which Hindu party we have to sit for the negotiations".

Meanwhile, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad claimed it has started two workshops in Ayodhya for carving stones. More than thirty trucks from Rajasthan have already arrived with the stones.

VHP leader and incharge of both workshops Triloki Nath Pande said they were running short of funds for carving stones for temple construction.

"Our NRI friends... have promised to send the funds we need for the construction of Ram temple and they will visit Ayodhya in groups to raise the cause of the temple," he said.

"We are thinking of a mass mobilization as in 1992, so that construction of temple may become easier, he added.  

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