Thursday, 04 December 2014 | VN Das/PNS | Ayodhya

Just three days before the 22nd anniversary of the Babri Mosque’s demolition, the oldest plaintiff in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case, Hashim Ansari declared on Wednesday that he would withdraw from the case and advocated construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site.
“The issue has been politicised and is no longer a religious matter. I wish to withdraw from this case and will communicate to the Supreme Court regarding this in writing. I will not attend any protest function on December 6. I will stay at home on December 6,” he said.
“I have taken this decision because politicians like Azam Khan are trying to complicate the matter,” he said. He said a Ram temple should be constructed at the disputed site. “I want to see Ram Lalla freed from the tents and a big temple constructed at that place,” he said.
93-year-old Ansari and Hindu sant Paramhans Ramchandra Das were the two litigants who filed the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit. Das is dead.
The dispute was first taken to court 65-years-ago following communal tensions after an idol of Ram was found on the premises in December 1949, and the Government confiscated the site. The Ram Janmabhoomi Trust holds that this land is the birthplace of Lord Ram while the Waqf Board holds that the land was the site of the 16th Century Babri mosque. There are four title suits pending before the court that includes ownership of the land and whether there was a temple at the site before 1538.
Ansari said he was ready for talks with the Prime Minister for peaceful negotiations in the matter only if he promises that he will ensure punishment to those accused of Babri Masjid’s demolition.
“I am ready to come to the negotiation table with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but before we start talking on this issue I want Modi to put the trial of Babri Masjid demolition accused on fast track,” he said.
“Special CBI courts in Lucknow and Raebareli have been conducting trial of the Babri Masjid demolition accused for the past 22 years. This is clear denial of justice, if Modi promises that he will personally ensure that the accused will be punished within a time frame, then we are ready to talk for the peaceful negotiation of the dispute,” he said.
Ansari also attacked Azam Khan for his remarks on the Babri Masjid issue. “What was the need for Azam Khan to bring up the Babri Masjid issue. Till the time Khan is not removed from ministership, I will not advocate the matter myself and will tell people that Khan is betraying the community,” he told a TV channel.
Khan had recently said that the Ayodhya dispute was a “dead issue”.
Slamming Azam Khan further, Ansari said he became a Minister just by taking political mileage from the Ayodhya issue. “Let Azam involve himself in the Ayodhya case as he has taken all the benefits so far from the issue.They are enjoying ministerial berth in Government but do not take pains to solve this problem,” he stated.
Ansari said Azam was the convenor of the Babri Masjid Action Committee but left it and joined Mulayam Singh Yadav for political gains. He asked if Azam Khan can visit six temples in Chitrakoot then why is he ashamed of visiting Ayodhya.
“I don’t want to fool either the Hindus or the Muslims as political parties have taken all the advantage of the issue and were enjoying all the power,” he alleged.
When asked if he was under pressure to take this decision he said: “Who can put pressure on me. I am old and ill. I have a fracture in my leg. It is my own decision to withdraw from the case.”
Madan Mohan Pandey who is the VHP’s lawyer in the temple dispute case in the SC said Ansari’s decision will have a positive impact on the court.Convener of the Babri Masjid Action Committee and member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), Zafaryab Jilani told The Pioneer that Ansari’s withdrawal will not have any effect on the case. “It is a representative suit in which many organisations are plaintiffs. Though we will try to persuade Ansari not to withdraw from the case,” he said.
“In Supreme Court, the advocate on record pursues the case and the litigant has no direct involvement in the matter. Besides, the AIMPLB pays all the expenditure in the case. The litigant is only required to sign some documents when needed,” he told reporters.
Jilani said that Ansari has been closely associated with both Hindus and Muslims and it has to be checked under what circumstances he has given such a statement.
 He disclosed that on Tuesday, Ansari’s son informed him that his father met with a minor accident and broke his leg.” Ansari would be brought to Lucknow for treatment and then I will ask him the details about his new statement on the vexed issue,” he said.
 Meanwhile, Jilani, an eminent lawyer, said that Supreme Court is yet to start the hearing into the Ayodhya title suit as all the documents are not in English and are being translated.
Meanwhile, renowned Sunni cleric Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali too said that Ansari’s decision will not affect the case. “There would be no impact on the case now even if Ansari refuses to pursue the case,” he said.
The Maulana also admitted that they too don’t want politics on the Ayodhya issue and the matter should be amicably solved at the earliest. “Ansari’s annoyance is genuine as the case has lingered too long and it has created a rift among the Hindus and Muslims,” he said.
 The Maulana, however, refused to comment on Ansari’s attack on Azam Khan.
1528: Babur, Mughal Empire, builds a mosque on Ram Janmabhoomi site. Hindus say Janmabhoomi is the birthplace of Lord Ram
1853: First recorded incidents of religious violence at the site 1859: British colonial administration erects a fence to separate the places of worship, allowing the inner court to be used by Muslims and the outer court by Hindus
1885: Mahant Raghubar Das files a suit seeking permission to build a canopy on Ram Chabootra
1949: Idols of Lord Ram appear inside mosque. Muslims protest and both parties file civil suits. The Government proclaims the premises a disputed area and locks the gates
1950: Inner courtyard gates are locked, but puja is allowed
1984: Hindus form a committee to “liberate” the birth-place of Lord Ram and build a temple
1986: On a petition of Hari Shanker Dubey, a judge directs masjid gates be unlocked to allow darshan. Muslims set up Babri Mosque Action Committee in protest
1989: VHP steps up campaign, laying the foundations of a Ram temple on land adjacent to the disputed mosque
1992: The mosque is demolished
2002: The Allahabad High Court directs the Archaeological Survey of India to excavate the site to determine if a temple lay underneath
2003: The survey says there is evidence of a temple beneath the mosque, but Muslims dispute the findings
2005: Suspected Islamic militants attack the disputed site
Sept 2010: Allahabad HC rules that the site should be split, with the Muslim community getting control of a third, Hindus another third and the Nirmohi Akhara sect the remainder
May 2011: SC suspends HC ruling after Hindu and Muslim groups appeal against the 2010 verdict
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