The Uttar Pradesh Shia Central Waqf Board on Tuesday said that it will gift 10 silver arrows for the quiver of Lord Ram’s statue which is being built in Ayodhya as mark of respect. According to a report by PTI, board’s chairman Waseem Rizvi wrote a letter to chief minister Yogi Adityanath where he hailed the UP government for building the statue which is a matter of pride for all Indians. “The UP government’s decision to erect a statue of Lord Ram is commendable. In keeping with the ‘Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb’ of Awadh, these silver arrows will be just a token of admiration and esteem in which the Shias hold Lord Ram,” the letter read.
Rizvi also said that the construction of the statue would give Uttar Pradesh a new identity in the world map. Rizvi’s statement came after the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) member Zafaryab Jilani and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi criticised the UP government. Both these leaders termed government’s move as illegal and unconstitutional and said that in a secular country like India, a government cannot involve or associate itself with a project like this (building the statue of a deity).
However, justifying the government decision, Rizvi said, “The Nawabs of this region always respected the temples in Ayodhya. So much so that the land for Hanuman Garhi in central Ayodhya was donated by Nawab Shuja-ud-Daulah in 1739, while the funds to construct the Hanuman Garhi temple were provided by Nawab Asif-ud-Daullah, between 1775 and 1793.”
Rizvi, in the past, had welcomed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in UP for building a statue of Lord Ram on the banks of Saryu river in Ayodhya. The Shia board headed by Rizvi had earlier filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court in the most controversial Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case. The board said the apex court that it did not have problem if the mosque was built at a reasonable distance from the 2.73 acres disputed land.