Mohammad Hashim Ansari, the oldest litigant in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, died on Thursday due to heart-related ailments. The 95-year-old Ansari died at his residence in Ayodhya in the morning according to his son Iqbal.

Ansari was the first litigant who filed the suit on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute in a civil court. Considered as the most prominent Muslim voice in the case, he was also the last surviving litigant from the Muslims’ side.

b’A Hindu priest walks past paramilitary troopers guarding a mosque as Muslims offer Friday prayers in the northern Indian town of Ayodhya October 1, 2010 | Source: Reuters’

Here is all you need to know about him:

  • He was born in Ayodhya and his father was a tailor. He followed his father’s profession till Emergency and after that, he ventured into repairing of cycles. His residence is 400 metres away from the disputed site. 
  • In 1949, he became the first litigant in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute who wanted a mosque to be built at that site. He had then filed the suit in the court of civil judge of Faizabad when idols of Lord Ram were allegedly planted in the Babri Masjid.
  • He was sentenced to two years in jail by a Faizabad court in 1952 for giving the azaan (call for namaz) in the disputed mosque. In 1961, he along six others became the main plaintiff in the ‘Ayodhya title suit’ filed by the Sunni Central Waqf Board in the court of Faizabad civil judge.
b’Hashim Ansari, the main litigant in the Ram temple-Babri mosque dispute case meets Akhara Parishad chief Mahant Gyan Das | Source: PTI’
  • In 2010, the Allahabad High Court in its verdict allotted one-third of the disputed site in Ayodhya to Nirmohi Akahara. The other two-thirds portion were equally given to be shared by the Waqf Board as well as the side representing Ram Lalla. After the verdict, Ansari had called for burying the dispute and making “a fresh start”.
  • In February 2015, Ansari tried to go for an out-of-court resolution to Ayodhya dispute in which he asked prominent leaders from the minority community to find out a peaceful solution in the matter. He had then said,”This is neither one man’s job nor a one-man show. If we want to find a peaceful solution to this more than 60-year old problem that has claimed many innocent lives in the communal riots, it is necessary that responsible people of the Muslim community and religious leaders must come out to discuss it.”
b’Hashim Ansari (centre) with Saints Dharam Das and Swami Hardayal Shastri in Ayodhya.Source: PTI’
  •  His proposal talked about the construction of  a 100 ft high partition wall between the temple and the mosque. He also met Akhara Parishad president Mahant Gyan Das to discuss a new proposal for the same, as per a report by The Indian Express.
  • The Convenor of Babri Masjid Action Committee Zafaryab Jilani expressed grief over his death. “All his statements had been recorded in the High Court and his documents filed. His death will not impact the case. But his passing will have an impact on public life. He was one of the last persons to have personal knowledge of the Babri issue. He was well-versed in the issue, Jilani told The Hindu. 

(With inputs from PTI)