Ayodhya dispute: Popular Front welcomes mediation; but seeks to reconstitute the panel

The Central Secretariat meeting of Popular Front of India held at its headquarters, in a statement issued after the Supreme Court order today on Ayodhya dispute, has welcome the court monitored mediation process. But it has expressed strong reservations about the inclusion of controversial figure Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in the three member panel. The meeting hoped that it would have been more meaningful if the Hon’ble Chief Justice himself headed the panel, instead of a retired judge.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is known as an open campaigner for constructing Ram Mandir on the site of demolished Babri Masjid. He was repeatedly demanding Muslims to give up their claim of Babri Masjid and accept the Masjid outside Ayodhya. He is reported to have once threatened Muslims that if they don’t give up their claim on Ayodhya India will become Syria. On another occasion he told to media that if the court rules against the temple, there would be bloodshed and the government might not be able to implement the court order. It is heartbreaking to note that a controversial person with such a background of openly instigating violence is being deputed to play the role of a mediator. The meeting appealed the Supreme Court bench to modify the order by removing the name of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar from panel.
Since the past seven decades, Ayodhya issue has been a source of violence and chaos in the country. In the interest of justice and for long lasting peace and harmony among the two major communities in the country, it is essential that the title suit is settled immediately by the Supreme Court. If mediation will help to resolve the issue, it can be given its chance. At the same time, in the past too there were attempts for mediation, but they failed due to Hindutva groups trying to influence the outcome for political gains. The meeting viewed the present mediation as different from previous attempts, because it is under the watch of the apex court. Popular Front reiterated the view that whether it is in the court or on the mediation table, the matter should be examined and adjudged not on the basis of religious belief and mythology, but purely on the merit of records and facts.
Popular Front Central Secretariat also suggested the Supreme Court to instruct the panel to start the mediation process only after Lok Sabha elections, by way of amending its order. The meeting expressed apprehensions about urgency being sought in the matter to coincide with Lok Sabha elections, since there is chance of political misuse.