A new twist to Ayodhya tale: Sunni Waqf Board seeks to withdraw from the case

Lucknow,October 16: The Ayodhya story which has had  many twists and turns got one more on Wednesday.Springing a surprise,the Sunni Waqf Board,which is one of the three main claimants of  disputed land in the temple town,through the mediation panel, has sought to withdraw from the case being heard  by the Supreme Court.The hearing is scheduled to be completed this evening.

The petition follows request by the Uttar Pradesh government to the Centre to order a CBI inquiry into the sale,purchase and transfer of land by the Shia and Sunni Waqf Boards .First Information Reports or FIRs have been already registered against them in Prayagraj(old name Allahabad) and Lucknow in connection with the deals.

Of the two,Farooqui has been provided security  by the state government following order by the SC.The Court was approached by a member of  the median panel in the wake of life threat given to Farooqui. The security was provided two days ago.

The move,according to informed sources,has not got the backing of all the members.There are some in the Board who are not in favour of withdrawal at this hour.The division in the Board report carries weight because he is reported to have also made a bid to change the advocate and had asked for  a fresh round of talks with the median panel  to settle the dispute outside the Court.

He has simultaneously urged the government to  take over maintenance of 20-odd mosques in Ayodhya, many of which were damaged  during riots  following  the demolition of the Babri Masjid in  1992.

The five-judge Constitution bench began day-to-day  hearing of the title suit on August 6 last after mediation effort failed.The apex court was approached as the Allahabad High Court judgement given in 2010 was not acceptable to the main litigants.The HC had ordered for three-way division of 2.77 acre of disputed land among the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and the deity, lord Ram.

The judgement is likely to be reserved by the SC after completion of hearing today  and given before November 17 when  Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi retires.

The Uttar Pradesh government has already imposed restrictions under section 144 in Ayodhya to prevent any untoward incident.A team of  top officials visited the town on Tuesday to supervise other arrangements to maintain peace.The ban on assembly of four or more persons in the town will continue up to December 10.

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