Minutes after the Allahabad High Court pronounced its verdict in the six-decade-old Ayodhya title suit cases, a 90-year-old Muslim — who is hard of hearing, has a wobbly gait and few teeth — and an 82-year-old Hindu — who has kidney problems, is diabetic and has suffered at least one heart attack —became the focus of media attention.
Mohammad Hashim Ansari, representative of the Sunni Wakf Board, living in a cramped house a kilometere away from the disputed site, and Mahant Bhaskar Das of the Nirmohi Akhara, who lives 20 km away in Faizabad town, are the two main litigants in the case — and have spent several decades fighting for their respective causes.
“We had said we will respect the court’s verdict and we respect it,” Ansari said on Thursday. “The Babri Masjid Action Committee will decide further course of action.” Das said the verdict had come as a relief. “The best part is that Lord Ram (idols) will not be removed from the janmabhoomi,” he said. “Let the verdict be upheld. Let there be peace.”
Ansari, who filed the title suit in 1961, has a picture of the Babri Masjid in his room. Das’ single-room house has idols of Ram.