Twenty-two years after the 16th-century Babri Masjid in Uttar Pradesh was demolished on December 6, 1992, the oldest litigant in a lawsuit over the religious site said on Wednesday he wants to withdraw from the petition in the Supreme Court.
Hashim Ansari, 96, said he would no longer defend the matter in the apex court, expressing anguish over how other Muslims leaders involved in the case have politicised the issue.
However, Zafaryab Jilani, legal advisor to the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, said the withdrawal of one person would not affect the case.
Many Hindus believe the site is the birthplace of Lord Ram and a giant temple dedicated to him should be built there, but Muslims want to build a mosque at the site.
The Allahabad high court said in a 2010 ruling the land be divided into three parts — one for Ram Lala, represented by the Hindu Mahasabha for the construction of a temple, another for the Sunni Waqf Board and the third for Hindu group Nirmohi Akhara.
Appeals on the case — originally filed in 1950 and then expanded over the years as more parties claimed title to the property— rest before the Supreme Court, which is yet to hear the matter.
Ansari told HT that UP’s urban development minister Mohd Azam Khan, who’s the convener of the Babri Masjid Action Committee, should represent the petition.
The demolition of the mosque allegedly by Hindu activists sparked riots that spilled into the following year and have been blamed for about 2,000 deaths.