NEW DELHI: A well known Hindu ‘godman’ who has been mediating the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute with Hindu and Muslim groups has warned of a bloody civil war in India if the issue is not resolved amicably to allow for a temple at the site of the destroyed mosque, the Indian Express reported on Tuesday.

It quoted Sri Ravi Shankar as urging the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) to consider an out-of-court settlement to the case, warning that if the matter was not resolved amicably without the court’s intervention the country may face a “large-scale” communal flare up.

Rai Shankar wrote an open letter to the AIMPLB members saying going through the court was a loss for both Hindus and Muslims and an out-of-court settlement would be a “win-win situation” for both the communities, the ‘godman, who has been making mediation efforts, meeting Muslim and Hindu leaders, to find a solution to the dispute.

In the letter, he gave four possible situations to the AIMPLB — the court giving away the land to the Muslims, awarding the land to the Hindus, upholding the Allahabad High Court order that says there should be a mosque built on one acre whilst the remaining 60 acres be utilised to build the temple and Parliament passing a legislation.

“In all the four options, either through the court or through the government, the result will be devastating for the nation in general and the Muslim community in particular,” he said.

Ravi Shankar said the best solution would be an out-of-court settlement, in which the Muslim bodies come forward and gift one acre of land to the Hindus, who, in turn, would gift five acres of land nearby to the Muslims to build a bigger mosque. He also told the AIMPLB leaders that Islam permitted the shifting of the mosque to another location and that cleric Maulana Salman Nadvi and many other Muslim scholars had endorsed it.

Ravi Shankar said: “Muslims are not surrendering this land to the people who demolished the Babri Masjid or to a particular organisation. On the contrary, they are gifting it to the people of India. They must keep this in their minds and spirit. It is only reconciliation and an expression of their broad-mindedness, benevolence, magnanimity and goodwill.”

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case on March 14, the Express said.

Published in Dawn, March 7th, 2018