New Delhi: With the Supreme Court referring the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case for mediation, reactions have been flying thick and fast. While Muslim petitioners were anyway willing to go for mediation, now it is the choice of the panel members that has been questioned.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi said, “Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who has been appointed a mediator, had earlier made a statement that ‘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.”

Meanwhile, senior BJP leader Uma Bharati, while refusing to be drawn into a debate on the choice of panel members, or the apex court decision, said, “I don’t want to comment on the Supreme Court order. I don’t want to comment on the mediators named by the court. But as a Hindu, I think, a temple should be made where Lord Ram was born.”

Earlier in the day, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi, comprised Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer.

It formed a mediation panel headed by Justice F M Kalifulla with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Senior Advocate Sriram Panchu. It also ruled that since the proceedings would be confidential, would be held on-camera the media wouldn’t be free to publish its details.

CJI Gogoi said mediation would be held in Faizabad. ANI reported that the apex court has ruled that the mediation process must begin within four weeks and the subsequent status report be submitted in another four weeks.