Oldest Babri litigant Hashim Ansari passes away

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Ninety-six -year-old Hashim Ansari, the oldest litigant in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title suit case, passed away early Wednesday morning at his residence in Ayodhya. Ansari was suffering from heart ailments for a long time.

Hashim Ansari-AV
Hashim Ansari, who was a tailor by profession, had been associated with the case since December 1949 when idols of Lord Ram were allegedly planted in the Babri Masjid.

Hashim Ansari, suffering with serious health ailments, was admitted in a Lucknow hospital in critical condition. He was admitted to the ICU of King George Medical University after he complained of chest pain and congestion. Ansari, who once praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanded nation-wide ban on beef. He also said he was ready for talks with Modi for peaceful negotiations in the matter only if he promises that he will ensure punishment to those accused of its demolition.

A litigant in a highly divisive case that has dragged on for more than 50 years, Ansari was friends with his main opponents — all of them senior Hindu community leaders. He often travelled to the court with them.

“Hindus and Muslims are one and would stay like that. No dispute is big enough to drive a wedge between the two,” he had said once.

Mahant Gyan Das, who along with Ansari had tried an out-of-court settlement, was among the many Hindu religious leaders and locals to visit Ansari’s residence to offer condolences. Das said Ansari’s passing was a personal loss.

Ansari, who had little formal education and continued to tailor well into his 80s, was the only surviving representative of the writ petition 12/1961. Filed by the Sunni waqf board on December 18, 1961, the petition sought possession of the disputed structure and the land around it in Ayodhya.

In 1952, he was sentenced to two years in jail by a Faizabad court for giving the azaan (call for namaz) in the disputed mosque.

In 1961, he along with six others became the main plaintiff in the ‘Ayodhya title suit’ filed by the Sunni Central Waqf Board in the court of Faizabad civil judge. He was the lone surviving litigant and considered the main voice from the Muslim-end.