Ayodhya Case: Sri Sri’s Past Remarks Cast Shadow on Mediator Role

SC has referred the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case for mediation by a panel that includes Sri Sri.

3 min read
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar will be one of the mediators in the Ayodhya land dispute. 

The Supreme Court on Friday, 8 March, referred the politically sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case for mediation by a three-member panel headed by former apex court judge FMI Kalifulla.

The other two names on the panel – tasked with finding an amicable ‘permanent solution’ to the long-standing dispute – are Art of Living Founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu.

Shankar’s name was met with scepticism by many as the spiritual leader has previously made several controversial remarks on the issue that raise serious questions on his ability to remain non-partisan.

Here are some of Shankar’s past remarks on the Ayodhya dispute:

‘Syria in India’

In an interview with India Today in 2018, Shankar had brought up the devastating Syrian war to suggest that the same could happen in India if the “Ram Mandir issue was not solved.”

“Muslims should give up their claim on Ayodhya as a goodwill gesture. Ayodhya is not place of faith for Muslims... We cannot make Lord Ram to be born in another place.”
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, as told to India Today

‘Bloodshed, if Court Rules Against Temple’

The spiritual leader, in an interview with NDTV last year, had said that the Supreme Court order would not resolve the issue.

“If court rules against a temple, there will be bloodshed. Do you think the Hindu majority will allow it? They will garner resentment towards the Muslim community.’’

When asked if that wasn't pre-empting the SC order, he had said, "There are thousands of orders that are not implemented. Do you think the majority community will accept such an order?"

The only way forward, he said, was for Muslims “to give up their claim on the site and build another mosque on a five-acre land in Ayodhya.”

‘India Could be Pushed to Civil War’

While renewing his appeal to the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) to consider an out-of-court settlement, Sri Sri had said that he feared a "large-scale" communal flare up if the case was settled by a court or through legislation, as per PTI.

In an open letter to AIMPLB members, he had said that 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.

“I urge the leaders of both faiths to take this action seriously. Otherwise, we are pushing our country to the brink of a civil war,” he had said.

Failing to do so, he said, would have devastating results for “the nation in general and the Muslim community in particular.”

‘Giving up Ayodhya Land Can Be Benevolence of Muslim Community’

“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,” Sri Sri had said, stressing on the need for a ‘peaceful’ solution, reported PTI.

“They must keep this in their minds and spirit. It is only reconciliation and an expression of their broad-mindedness, benevolence, magnanimity and goodwill.”
Sri Sri

(With inputs from PTI, NDTV, India Today)

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