NEW DELHI: The six-decade-old Babri Masjid-Ram Mandir imbroglio may be heading for a back-door settlement.
One of the oldest petitioners for the disputed Masjid land, Hashim Ansari wants to cry off from the case. In what appears to be a U-turn, just days before the December 6 anniversary of the demolition, Ansari spoke out against the “politicisation of the issue”, which was promptly welcomed by controversial BJP leader Yogi Adityanath of Gorakhpur.
The Babri Masjid petitioner not only expressed his wish to withdraw from the legal dispute, but also blamed SP leader Azam Khan for his decision. Ansari said his disillusionment stems from the politicisation of the issue by Azam.
The original title suit was filed more than 60 years ago in the Faizabad court. The petition contested the placement of Hindu idols inside the Masjid complex. Referring to the idols at the makeshift temple at the disputed site, Ansari said he wants “Ram Lalla” to be free.
The NDA-I Government led by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee could not move forward on building the temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya.
The compulsions of coalition politics were cited as one of the reasons, though, Vajpayee tried several behind-the-scene negotiations, one of them involving Kanchi Shankararcharya, but to little avail. On the other side, the Babri Masjid Action Committee, too was far more charged and aggressive on the issue.
It may have been virtually erased from public memory that Vajpayee, acknowledged as a statesman by both critics and admirers, had a serious fall out with VHP supremo Ashok Singhal over the temple issue.
Much of the politics and confrontations that played out in Vajpayee’s later years had to do with the disastrous meeting he had with Singhal and the VHP top brass, after which the latter stormed out of 7 RCR and re-launched their campaign for Ram Mandir.
A former VHP vice-president said that Vajpayee had even sent the VHP leadership for a seven-day ‘chintan’ camp to a prominent south Indian seer’s ashram. This was done to convince them not to go on a warpath and leave it to the political establishment to find a solution to the impasse.
However, it could not be discerned whether the latest development in the issue was part of a larger negotiations on the part of the new NDA government in which the BJP has a comfortable majority of its own.