Old rivals unite for peace

Call for truce

Old rivals unite for peace

Just hours after the Allahabad High Court on Thursday delivered the verdict on the dispute, Ansari accepted it with grace. The 90-year-old former tailor told journalists at his residence in Panji Tola in Ayodhya that the judgment of the High Court should be accepted with due respect by all.

“I welcome the decision of the High Court,” Ansari said, adding: “The Sunni Central Wakf Board will now decide the next course of action. It is the board that would decide if we should move the Supreme Court now.”

Ansari had moved the court in 1961 as a local representative of the Sunni Central Wakf Board in Ayodhya. On Thursday, he was glued to his TV set since morning, watching reports on the verdict.

Bhaskar Das, the mahant (abbot) of the Nirmohi Akhara, said that he was happy as the High Court’s verdict ensured that the idol of Lord Ram would not be removed from the disputed shrine. He also said that even if the Sunni Central Wakf Board were to move the Supreme Court challenging the High Court order, there could still be talks between the two sides for an amicable settlement.

“I welcome the verdict and I hope we all should accept it,” added the 82-year-old.
Ansari and Bhaskar Das may have been pitted against each other in this protracted courtroom battle over the Mandir-Masjid row. But, out of the court, they have been good friends, who often met and chatted for hours over tea.

A few days before the High Court’s verdict; Ansari went to see Bhaskar Das after he heard that the latter was down with viral fever.

Ansari blames the government for failing to protect the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, and believes a mosque should be built on the disputed site. Bhaskar Das is equally passionate about his belief that Ram Lalla should have a proper temple there.

But, on Thursday, they almost echoed each other to call upon Hindus and Muslims of Ayodhya and rest of the country to maintain peace and harmony in the wake of the High Court’s verdict. “We all should respect the order of the High Court,” said Hazi Mohammed, who inherited the legal battle over the disputed site from his late father Hazi Mahmood.

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