With Ayodhya issue stuck in the quicksand of political and legal quagmire, a retired high court judge is spearheading a movement to resolve the issue peacefully and has claimed to have got the backing of over seven thousand locals -- both Hindus and Muslims.
Justice (retd) Palok Basu is leading the negotiation process and says that more than seven thousand people of Ayodhya and Faizabad have agreed to his proposal by signing a petition.
The formula proposed by Basu and his team is that the disputed acquired area of Ram Janam Bhumi/Babri Masjid will house both -- a Ram mandir and a mosque.
However, this mosque will not sport the name of Mughal emperor Babar.
Basu, a retired judge of Allahabad high court, has been spearheading this "local" effort since March 18, 2010 six months before the High Court partitioned the disputed site into three parts.
Justice(retd) Basu and his team are conducting signature campaign in the twin towns of Ayodhya and Faizabad with a target of 10,000 signatures of both Muslims and Hindus in same ratio.
Basu told PTI in Ayodhya on Sunday that they have crossed the figure of 7,000 signatures.
After the target of 10,000 signatures is achieved, Basu and his team will move Supreme Court through the government and appeal the apex court to honour the public sentiments for peace and harmony.
"First thing is peace and the last thing is also peace. We have witnessed lot of bloodshed over Ayodhya issue in the last 60 to 70 years. So we must all unite for this peace process," said Ranjeet Lal Varma, counsel for Nirmohi Akhara, and now one of the main members of Basu's team.
"After we have 10,000 signatures, we will move this negotiation process in the Supreme Court through authorised person, we hope that the apex court will honour the public sentiments of peace and harmony," said Afzaal Ahmad Khan, also a team member and local leader.
"Since this issue cropped up, we were always of the opinion that this must be solved anyway. But the politicians have used the issue for their vote banks, now it has become cancer for the peaceful society. It must be eliminated," Khan said.
One of the key members of Basu's team, Manzar Mahdi, who is a journalist with a vernacular newspaper, said,"It is important that peace and communal harmony is established. We are trying to connect majority of people of both the communities with this negotiation process."
Mediation and fortnightly talks have been on for more than last five years between Hindus and Muslims of the twin towns to find an out-of-court solution.
On September 30, 2010, a Special Full Bench of the Allahabad High Court had ruled that the disputed land in Ayodhya, where the Babri Mosque stood, shall be divided into three parts.
A two-thirds portion was to be shared by two Hindu plaintiffs and one-third was to be given to the Sunni Muslim Waqf Board.
However, later, Supreme Court stayed the order.