When Hashim Ansari — one of the oldest litigants in Babri Masjid case — threatened to withdraw from the case, tired over never-ending lawsuit, it once again put the spotlight on the dim chances of an out-of-court settlement.
Hashim Ansari, 96, is not the lone voice seeking a resolution to the dispute.
After the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, several attempts were made to negotiate peace. But there was no breakthrough as both sides dug in their heels with each claiming their right on the disputed property.
The convenor of Babri Masjid committee, Qasim Rasool Ilyas, said there had been at least a dozen failed attempts to reach a compromise.
On September 30, 2010, the Allahabad high court (HC) gave its verdict to trifurcate 1,500sqm of disputed land into three parts — Ramlala, Nirmohi Akhara and central Sunni Waqf board. However, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) — a private body working to protect Muslim personal laws — went on appeal to the apex court.
In an affidavit in the Supreme Court, it ruled out the possibility of an out-of-court settlement. However, there were dissenting views in the AIMPLB as a section wanted to accept the HC verdict.
In October 2010, president of Jamiat Ulema Hind Maulana Mahmood Madni asked the community to accept the HC verdict. The cleric said the acceptance of the verdict would be in larger interest.
In August 2013, VHP chief Ashok Singhal met Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav to find a solution to the problem. The VHP leader wanted Yadav, who is popular among clerics, to convince Muslim leaders to accept an out-of-court settlement. Angered by the meeting, urban development minister Azam Khan came out furious.
Similarly, the Congress’ Digvijaya Singh made a bid to resolve the issue in 2011 when he attempted to bring AIMPLB members to the negotiating table, only to be rebuffed.