Virtually throwing a spanner in the works of a possible reconciliation, the Sunni Central Waqf Board has decided to take the Ayodhya legal battle to the Supreme Court.
An announcement to this effect was made by Waqf Board chief Zufar Ahmad Farooqui after the conclusion of a meeting of the board in Lucknow on Tuesday.
"At a meeting of the Waqf Board, we have resolved to file an appeal before the Supreme Court. We will move the Supreme Court only after getting a certified copy of the HC order," Farooqui told media persons.
He emphasised, "I am the sole spokesman of this Board and nobody other than me is authorised to speak on behalf of this organization."
The meeting was attended by nine of the 13 members of the board.
Board counsel Zafaryab Jilani had on day one itself expressed his intention to appeal against the high court verdict, which seeks to divide the disputed 90 ft x 120 ft plot of disputed land into three equal parts.
While two of these are to be shared by two separate Hindu parties, the third one goes to the Muslims.
On the possibility of a negotiated settlement of the contentious issue, he said no person had been authorised by the Board to explore talks in this regard.
"If any person is negotiating with other parties, he is doing so on his own," Farooqui said.
Hashim Ansari, one of the litigants in the case, on Sunday claimed he had initiated talks after being asked by the Sunni Wakf Board.
"At its meeting, the Board resolved if any proposal of an out-of-court settlement is made by any party, it will be considered by the Chairman and appropriate decision will be taken after consultations among Board members," Farooqui said.
How Sunni Board intends to fight its case in SC
Coverage: The Ayodhya Issue
Additional Reportage: PTI