Oldest Babri Masjid litigant gives up after 64 years

Oldest Babri Masjid litigant gives up after 64 years

The oldest litigant in the vexed Ram Temple-Babri Masjid dispute in Ayodhya, Mohammad Hashim Ansari, on Wednesday said he would withdraw the 64-year case he fought after expressing sadness over the issue being politicised for decades.

Ansari said he wanted “Ram Lala”, the idol of Lord Rama located at the makeshift temple in Ayodhya, to be freed. The 93-year-old declared that he would no longer be a party to the dispute and would not take part in Saturday’s protests, which would be held at Ayodhya on Saturday—the 22nd anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition.

“I want to see Ram Lala free,” Ansari said. “Those politicising the issue have been living comfortably in palaces and enjoying life, while Ram Lala has been living under the tarpaulin,” he remarked.

Ansari launched a scathing attack on senior Samajwadi Party leader and Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan, who was the convener of the Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC) that was set-up after the mosque’s demolition. “Khan has become a minister. He visits temples in Chitrakoot but never comes to Ayodhya,” Ansari said. He also rued that efforts to resolve the dispute outside the court proved futile.

BMAC lawyer Zafaryab Jilani said Ansari’s withdrawal would not make any impact on the ongoing legal battle. The BJP, however, welcomed Ansari’s remarks, saying that he had “finally accepted the truth”. Incidently, Ansari’s son owns a taxi and takes Hindu pilgrims to temples and other religious sites in Ayodhya.

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