Ninety-three-year-old Hashim Ansari, the oldest litigant in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title suit case, met Mahant Gyan Das of Hanuman Garhi in Ayodhya on Monday and expressed his desire for an out-of-court settlement of the dispute.
The two have reportedly decided to settle the issue after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Das is the chief priest of Hanuman Garhi in Ayodhya and also heads the All India Akhara Parishad.
“Let things first move in the right direction… only then we will meet Modi,” Das told The Indian Express. Claiming that leaders like Ashok Singhal of VHP will not be included in the process, he said: “Singhal sab bakwas hain, usko nahi rakhengey.”
On Ansari, Das said: “I have met Hashim Ansari and we are looking for an out-of-court settlement. Currently, there is confusion, which we want to do away with.” He added that all other parties to the case, including Nirmohi Akhara and Hindu Mahasabha, will be consulted before any final decision is taken.
Sources said there is a proposal to accommodate both a temple and a mosque at the disputed site in Ayodhya. A 100 feet wall will separate the two. The proposal will be in conformation with the High Court decision on September 30, 2010. “We cannot reveal any details. It will be clear when things are finalised,” Das said.
When contacted, Ansari’s son Iqbal Ansari said: “My father met Mahant Gyan Das today at 5 pm. We discussed the probability of an out-of-court settlement. We are open to any settlement that strengthens brotherhood in the country.”
In December last year, Hashim Ansari had announced that he was withdrawing from the case. Later, he claimed that he has given the power of attorney to his son Iqbal to contest the case.
Claiming that an out-of-court settlement will be finalised only after meeting the Prime Minister, Iqbal said: “Mahant Gyan Das will take an appointment with the Prime Minister and we will meet him. We want to settle the issue and let harmony prevail.”
The Babri Masjid-Ram Janambhoomi case is currently being heard in the Supreme Court. Apart from Ansari, there are six other litigants, including Sunni Central Waqf Board.
Zafaryab Jilani, who is looking after the Babri Masjid Affairs Committee in All India Muslim Personal Law Board, claimed that Hashim Ansari’s decision will not affect the status of the case.
“There are eight appeals pending in the Supreme Court from the side of Muslims. Two among these are from Hashim Ansari. There are still six appeals left. So, nothing will change with his decision,” Jilani added.