Babri Masjid demolition
YouTube screen grab of visuals before the Babri Masjid was demolished.
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Syed Ghayorul Hasan Rizvi’s remarks come days before final SC hearing in the matter; he also rejects claims about rising incidents of communal violence.

New Delhi: Muslims should be more “generous” and give the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya to Hindus, the National Commission for Minorities chairperson has said, days before the Supreme Court begins its final hearing in the long-running dispute.

“The Supreme Court will chart its own course, but Muslims themselves should come forward and give away the site which is so important to Hindus to them,” Syed Ghayorul Hasan Rizvi told ThePrint. “A mosque can be built anywhere. Anyway namaaz is not offered there.”

Doing so would ensure harmony and reduce hatred between Hindus and Muslims, said Rizvi who has risen from the ruling BJP’s Minority Morcha.

“Muslims across the country want to bury the issue, and give away (the disputed site) to Hindus,” he said. “The only thing they fear is that if they give up their claim over Ayodhya, they might be under similar pressure in Kashi and Mathura.”

The case pertaining to the disputed site, which was razed by Hindutva groups in December 1992, will be heard next month by a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court.

Reacting to the concerns expressed by 67 retired bureaucrats in an open letter about “mindless violence” targeting the minorities, Rizvi said that the minorities are not living in an atmosphere of fear, and the incidents targeting them are “stray” ones.

“One or two stray incidents happen where there is failure of the administration, but largely, there is sabka saath, sabka vikas in the country,” he said.

“It is not as though that these kinds of (communal) incidents did not happen under other governments,” Rizvi added.

While the letter written Sunday sought to bring the Prime Minister’s attention to “an atmosphere of resentment” among Muslims, Rizvi said that Muslims of India are prospering and 50 Muslim candidates clearing the civil services exam last year is evidence of that.

Asked if the commission was contemplating any action over the communal violence in Kasganj, Rizvi said that the state government had taken adequate measures to ensure calm in the area, and hence the commission did not need to intervene.

“Earlier when there were communal conflicts, the commission would immediately arrive at the scene, send its own delegation. I don’t see that happening anymore,” Wajahat Habibullah, who is one of the signatories to the letter and a former chairperson of the NMC, told ThePrint.

“There is a sharp deterioration in the country’s (communal) atmosphere,” he said.

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