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Oldest Muslim litigants in Ayodhya, Iqbal Ansari and Haji Mehboob, choose different paths on review

“I feel the people who want to go for a review are doing this just to do politics and remain in the media spotlight. They are not exercising a legal right but pursuing a personal agenda,” Iqbal Ansari, whose later father Mohd Hashim Ansari was one of the oldest litigants, told ET from Ayodhya.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Dec 04, 2019, 01.33 PM IST
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Ansari has remained steadfast since the SC judgment on November 9 that he will not file any review.
New Delhi: In Ayodhya, the two of the most prominent Muslim litigants in the Babri Masjid case whose respective late fathers had also fought the case for years are now on the opposite sides of opinion on whether the case should be fought further through a review or the Supreme Court judgment be accepted.

“I feel the people who want to go for a review are doing this just to do politics and remain in the media spotlight. They are not exercising a legal right but pursuing a personal agenda,” Iqbal Ansari, whose late father Mohd Hashim Ansari was one of the oldest litigants, told ET from Ayodhya.

Ansari has remained steadfast since the SC judgment on November 9 that he will not file any review. His father was a local tailor who lived just a few meters from the Babri Masjid and passed away in 2016. Not far from Ansari’s residence is the house of Haji Mehboob near the Ram Janambhoomi Police Station, another prominent litigant. His late father Haji Phenku used to call for prayers from the Babri Masjid and filed the original case until Mehboob took over from him after his death. Mehboob, who till last month said he would not file a review, now says he has changed his mind.

“My view is that this is a legal process and we have been given the right to lay our case once more before the SC. Why should we not go as far as we can? All efforts should be made by the Muslim side to get justice. I will be filing a review petition soon. Wait for December 6. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board is working on this,” Mehboob told ET.

Mehboob has earlier said the SC judgment, whatever it may be, should be respected. Later after the judgment, he had initially told the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) that he would not file a review and did not attend the AIMPLB meeting in Lucknow last month. However, he is now on board for filing a review.

“See if someone wants to go in for a review, I cannot stop anyone. There are five individual Muslim litigants,” Ansari said, pointing out how he is the only one among the five individual litigants who have decided not to file a review. “I have remained steadfast on my statement from Day One. This was one of the most important judgments in the history of the country and it took 70 years to settle this matter. I feel we should not take this matter further anymore. It is important to do so to foster Hindu-Muslim harmony – as even today, the issue of temple and Mosque is dragged into any fight that Hindus and Muslims have on the street. Some issues need closure sooner than later – the review being filed in SC may not bring any fruit for the Muslim side,” Ansari said. He pointed out that the Sunni Waqf Board has also adopted the “correct position” by not going in to file a review in the SC

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