Representatives of the Shia community on Wednesday flatly rejected Vishwa Hindu Parishad chief Ashok Singhal's offer to hold talks on the Ayodhya issue.
In a statement issued earlier, Singhal had said that since the Allahabad high court had dismissed the Sunni Waqf Board's suit staking claim to the disputed Ramjanma bhoomi- Babri Masjid land in Ayodhya, the VHP would now hold talks with Shia organisations.
The VHP chief had said, "Mughal emperor Babur's army commander Mir Baqi, who built the Babri Masjid, was a member of the Shia community. Therefore, we have decided to hold talks with representatives of the community."
Reacting sharply to the statement, widely acclaimed Shia scholar and cleric Maulana Kalbe Sadiq, who was also senior vice president of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, said, "We are not interested in any move initiated by Mr Singhal."
He added, "It is quite apparent that after failing to forge a divide between Hindus and Muslims, the VHP is now trying to incite a confrontation between Shias and Sunnis. But we will not play into their hands."
Expressing a similar view, well known Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawaad observed, "There is absolutely no logic in Mr Singhal's explanations, which were clearly aimed at bringing Shias at loggerheads with the Sunnis"
"A mosque is a place of worship which cannot be restricted to one particular sect of Muslims," he said.
Maulana Mohammad Athar, who heads the All India Shia Muslim Personal Law Board, also flayed Singhal for his remarks.