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Ayodhya row 'sensitive & sentimental, sit and reach consensus': SC

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said fresh attempts must be made by all parties concerned to find a solution to the Ayodhya temple dispute which is a "sensitive" and "sentimental matter". A bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar said that such religious issues can be solved through negotiations and offered to mediate to arrive at an amicable settlement.

"These are issues of religion and sentiments. These are issues where all the parties can sit together and arrive at a consensual decision to end the dispute. All of you may sit together and hold a cordial meeting," the bench also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul said. The observations came after BJP leader Subramanian Swamy mentioned the matter seeking urgent hearing of the issue.

"You must make fresh attempts to arrive at a consensual decision. If required, you must choose a moderator to end the dispute. If the parties wants me to sit with mediators chosen by both the sides for negotiations, am ready to take up the task. Even the services of my brother judges can be availed for the purpose," the CJI said.

Muslim organisations, including the Babri Masjid Action Committee, reacted with skepticism about the Supreme Court's suggestion, saying attempts at out-of-court settlement in the past have been unsuccessful. "We are ready with Chief Justice (of India) mediating... we trust him. We are also ready we if he nominates a team for hearing the matter. But out of court settlement is not possible. If SC passes an order in this regard, we will look into it," said Zafaryab Jilani, Convenor of the Committee which is a party to the case.

The ruling BJP welcomed the Supreme Court's suggestion.. "The Supreme Court has called for an out-of-court settlement between the aggrieved parties. The parties should resolve the issue amicably by talking to each other. We welcome this step and I believe they should have talks outside the court," BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra told reporters here.
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