'Today, the situation in the country is bad.'
'The distance between Hindus and Muslims is increasing.'
'If an out-of-court settlement is reached, then a cordial atmosphere will prevail in the country.'
Syed Ghayorul Hasan Rizvi, chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, wants an out-of-court settlement in the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute and wants the Muslim community to be "large-hearted".
Rizvi is making attempts to meet members of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board in Lucknow as well as Hindu leaders and find a way for an out-of-court settlement in the vexatious issue that is currently before the Supreme Court of India for a final settlement.
The apex court last month posted the matter for heading for the first week of January before an "appropriate bench" whose composition will be decided later.
Speaking to Rediff.com's Syed Firdaus Ashraf, Rizvi stated that the Muslim community is willing to give up its claim on the Babri Masjid site, but community leaders are blocking the way for a settlement.
You have been saying that there must be an out-of-court settlement in the Ayodhya case. How is it possible given the hardened positions on all sides?
I am saying an out-of-court settlement is necessary because whenever the verdict comes, one party will win and another will lose.
Moreover, it is not necessary that even the Supreme Court's verdict will be accepted by everybody, just like what is happening in the case of Sabarimala.
Therefore, I am saying the Ram mandir issue must be settled out of court.
(Interrupts) Muslims have this apprehension that 'What after Ram mandir?' They are wondering what is the guarantee that tomorrow they (the Hindus) will not target other masjids like the ones in Mathura and Kashi (Varanasi) too.
This is a problem. And, therefore, I am saying that any solution that has to come on this issue has to come out of peaceful talks.
Who will take the decision on behalf of the Muslims, that it is okay to build a Ram temple at the Babri Masjid site?
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board from one side and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, and the Bharatiya Janata Party from the other side will take the decision.
Hashim Ansari's son (Iqbal Ansari) could have been fighting his case on an individual basis, but the decision from the Muslim side will have to be taken by Muslim Personal Law Board as the Sunni Waqf Board has the backing of the Personal Law Board.
(Note: The late Hashim Ansari was the original litigant in the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid case. Right now the case is being fought in the Supreme Court by three main parties -- the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and the Hindu Mahasabha.)
Did you speak to anyone from the Muslim Personal Law Board about this?
I have spoken to one or two people from the Muslim Personal Law Board. I am in Lucknow right now. If some further development takes place, then I will inform you later.
Talks of an out-of-court settlement have taken place earlier too, but no concrete result emerged.
Several times this issue came almost to the verge of a solution, but something or the other came in the way of an out-of-court settlement.
This time the situation is different. Today, the (communal) situation in the country is bad. The distance between Hindus and Muslims is increasing. This will stop only when good atmosphere will prevail in the country.
Now, if an out-of-court settlement is reached in the Ram mandir issue, then there will be a cordial atmosphere in the country.
Do you think the Ram mandir issue is causing a rift between Hindus and Muslims?
Ram mandir is such an issue that distances one community from another.
The message that goes is that the Muslim community is fighting against the Ram mandir in Ayodhya.
And it is only when the Muslim community withdraws from the case that the Ram mandir can be built.
But the case is in the final stage of hearing in the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court too had said when Justice J S Khehar was the Chief Justice of India that they would like to have an out-of-court settlement and they are ready for it.
But that did not work out then. Many learned people sat and tried to resolve this issue, but a solution did not come about.
Now as time passes, things change and, therefore, I feel everyone has to change, be it Hindus or Muslims.
And, therefore, I am saying again that an out-of-court settlement is necessary in this case.
Do you feel the Muslim community is ready for a Ram mandir in Ayodhya?
The Muslim community wants this issue to be resolved peacefully and they want to live peacefully.
Do you believe the Muslim community wants to give up its claim on the Babri masjid?
The Muslim community is ready to give up the Babri masjid claim, but their leaders are not.
You do a survey and find out the answer. Muslim leaders are not ready.