AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Friday expressed his reservations on the appointment of spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar as a mediator in the Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case.

Though he welcomed the verdict given by a five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court, the Hyderabad MP reminded the media that Ravi Shankar had earlier urged Muslims to give up their claim on the disputed land.

“Ravi Shankar, who has been appointed a mediator, had earlier made a statement ‘If Muslims don’t give up their claim on Ayodhya, India will become Syria’. It would’ve been better if the Supreme Court had appointed a neutral person,” he told reporters on Friday following the top court’s decision of appointing three mediators to solve the long-pending dispute.

“I welcome Supreme Court’s decision. I would have been happier if a more impartial moderator was appointed,” Owaisi said.

Ravi Shankar, the founder of Art of Living, had in March 2018 suggested that Muslims should gift the land to Hindus for the construction of the Ram temple.

“Because it’s Lord Ram’s birthplace, there is such a strong feeling connected with the place. And since it is not that important place for Muslims and (is) also in a place where there is conflict, namaaz is not acceptable. Anyway, it is not going to serve the purpose; and when it is not serving the purpose of the other community (Muslims), then, it should be gifted,” he had told IANS in an interview.

Responding to Union Minister Uma Bharti’s remark that Hindus shouldn’t be treated as guinea pigs, Owaisi said, “She should say this to the Supreme Court. Is she trying to say that this mediator is her representative or her ideology’s mediator…she should always talk within the constitutional framework.”

In a major decision on Friday, the Supreme Court appointed three mediators for a “permanent solution” to the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case.

A five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi appointed former SC judge Justice FM Kalifullah, spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu as the mediators for the Ayodhya title suit case.

Headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, the five-judge bench that passed the order comprised Justice SA Bobde, Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice SA Nazeer.

The Supreme Court, in its order, banned the reporting of the mediation proceedings.