After the announcement of a trust for building the grand Ram temple at Ayodhya came, the Muslim community in the Uttar Pradesh town did not seem pleased with the decision of the government.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the creation of the trust named Shree Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra, in Parliament, before he flew out to Lucknow to inaugurate the Defence Expo. Modi said the temple will be constructed on the entire 67 acres of land, while the land for the construction of a mosque has been allotted in Dhannipur village. Dhannipur village is about 22 kilometres from Ayodhya town and the site is over 200 metres away from the state highway.
An unhappy Ayodhya
It was obvious that sants and the saint fraternity of Ayodhya was happy with the announcement. However, what was surprising was that a small section of the Hindu community were unhappy about the location of the land allocated for a mosque, which will be far away.
“The land for the mosque has been given at a very far distance and people will definitely face problems going there. The government should have allotted it somewhere near to this place or it would have worked even if it was allotted on the opposite side of the mighty Sarayu river,” said Rajneesh Balmiki, a property dealer by profession.
Mohammad Laik, a 39-year-old resident of Ayodhya, was angry. “They first razed the mosque and now they are compensating for it with five acres of land outside Ayodhya. If you say that Ayodhya is a great example of communal harmony then the land should have been allotted inside it and not so far away,” he said.
“You have the power to decide and you have decided. We respect the order of the court. But is this fair?” he asked.
Haji Mehboob, one of the key litigants in the Ayodhya-Babri title suit is more dismissive. “What is the point of giving the land so far away. I do not accept this decision,” he said on the phone. Mehboob said that the “ball is definitely in the court of Sunni Waqf Board” as they have to decide whether or not they accept this decision in a meeting which will happen on February 24. “But I am very clear that I do not accept this land,” he said.
On the other hand, one Ishtiyaq Alam, a resident of Martyr’s Lane hailed the decision, reasoning that Ayodhya could now be free from disputes, leading to greater prosperity in the region.
A happy Dhannipur
Meanwhile, Dhannipur village, nearly 22 kilometres away from Ayodhya town, was seemingly happy with their village being the site chosen for the mosque. The village, dominated by the Muslim community, is surrounded by green paddy fields and has approximately 70 houses.
“The area has no history of communal violence and members of both communities have been living in harmony here,” a senior administrative officer said.
The 32-year-old village head of Dhannipur, Ramesh Yadav, has hope that the village will now thrive. “Now, whosoever comes to visit the grand Ram temple that is expected to come up in Ayodhya will visit our village, too, out of curiosity. This will help in the development of our village,” he said. Yadav reasoned that if people end up coming to Dhannipur, the village would benefit from an increase in business opportunities.
Dhannipur village is also home to the tomb of Shahjada Shah Rahmat Ullah Aliah and an annual fair is organised in his memory.
VHP to start collecting donations
In a bid to ensure the participation of every Hindu in the project, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) will start a campaign to collect Rs 11 and a brick from every house from March.