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January 31, 2002
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Court cannot decide matters of faith: VHP

Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi

Hardening its stand on the Ram Temple issue, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad on Thursday contended that 'matters of faith' could not be decided in a court of law.

VHP international working president Ashok Singhal addressing the media in Delhi also claimed that the Sunni Wakf Board of Uttar Pradesh could not claim the disputed land in Ayodhya as it was given to the Hindus in 1857.

He said that the land was taken over by Begum Hazrat Mahal, wife of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, after the British troops captured him in 1857.

Singhal maintained that the custodian of the disputed land during that time handed it over to the Hindus in exchange for land elsewhere to build a mosque.

He said, "They (the Muslims) do not have any right. The dispute is between us and the government."

When told that the government was in favour of solving the Ayodhya dispute either by a negotiated settlement or the verdict of the court, the VHP leader said, "Wahan par Ram Janam Bhoomi hai(It is where Lord Ram was born)."

Specifically asked whether the VHP would abide by the court verdict on the Ayodhya dispute, he said, "We definitely have faith in court, but matters pertaining to 'faith' could not be settled in court."

According to Singhal, the offering of puja(prayers) within the disputed land was stopped when the Narasimha Rao government took it over.

"Ever since, some Muslim leaders have been saying that they would not allow the court verdict to be implemented," he said.

He claimed that there was a misconception among the people that the Supreme Court directive applied on the 67 acres of (disputed) land.

"There is no such directive," Singhal said.

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