Narendra Modi's agenda is to build a Ram mandir in Ayodhya, Hashim Ansari, the oldest litigant in the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit, tells Syed Firdaus Ashraf/Rediff.com
Hashim Ansari is a nonagenarian living in the temple town of Ayodhya.
Ask any resident of Ayodhya where Ansari stays and you will be taken to his house.
Ansari's doors are open to all, but at the entrance, on the iron door, is written with chalk, 'Don't enter without the permission of security'.
Oddly, there is no security around when I walk in and find Ansari napping on his cot, shirtless.
He welcomes me to his home and asks me to sit on a partially broken sofa. He then asks a boy to call the policemen.
In a minute, four policemen arrive with guns in their hands. They ask for details. Satisfied with my answers they permit me to interview Ansari.
Hashim Ansari is the oldest litigant in the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit who claims there never was a mandir at the Babri Masjid site.
"I have said a thousand times that it was Abhiram Das (a sadhu) who went and kept Lord Ram's statue inside the Babri Masjid in 1949. The then government did not do anything because Partition had just happened and the communal situation was not very good. One mischief by Abhiram put the entire country in flames and till date no solution has come out," says Ansari.
Asked if he is not happy with the Allahabad high court judgment in the case, he says, "It was a bad judgement. Nobody is happy with it."
Ansari brings out an old photograph of the Babri Masjid and points out, "You see, Muslims have only got 1/3 portion of the left hand side of the Babri Masjid. The VHP (the Vishwa Hindu Parishad) on the other hand got the central dome of the masjid and the Nirmohi Akhara got the right dome of the masjid. This is not justice according to me."
"You know, it is a 11,500 page judgment. It has been four years since the judgment and the lawyers from all sides are still reading it. Every side has challenged the judgment in the Supreme Court," he adds.
Asked what he feels about the Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi likely coming to power, Ansari says, "Modi should have been punished. He organised the kar sevaks march to Ayodhya in 1992 when the Babri Masjid was demolished. If Modi comes to power, India will be divided into 20 parts and the Muslims will not be responsible for it."
Told that Modi has not spoken of communalism in his election speeches, but only of development, Ansari says, "His agenda is to build a Ram mandir."
"I feel the Congress and BJP are one party," says Ansari. "The Congress kept Lord Ram inside the masjid and the BJP captured Ram Lalla inside the site. He is not free. They will never let him be free."
"The government spends Rs 36 lakh (Rs 3.6 million) per day for security for this place. So much money is going down the drain and to this day there is no final judgment on the issue."
Image: Hashim Ansari. Photograph: Asif Ansari