Babri mosque litigant Iqbal Ansari 'threatened' to withdraw case

Published September 4, 2019
A land dispute between Muslims and Hindus is ongoing over plans to build a Hindu temple on a site where hard-liners demolished a 16th century mosque. — AFP/File
A land dispute between Muslims and Hindus is ongoing over plans to build a Hindu temple on a site where hard-liners demolished a 16th century mosque. — AFP/File

One of the main litigants of the Babri mosque case in India, Iqbal Ansari, was allegedly physically assaulted at his residence in Ayodhya on Tuesday, The Wire reported.

The Wire quoted Ansari as saying that he was asked by two people to withdraw the case. The alleged attackers threatened to kill him if he failed to fulfil the demand. The two alleged attackers were warded off by Ansari's security personnel.

The Wire report, citing Press Trust of India, said that the two attackers, a man and a woman, came to Ansari's house on Tuesday afternoon.

“The woman introduced herself as Vartika Singh and claimed that she was an international shooter. They asked me to withdraw my claim from the dispute, threatening that she would otherwise shoot me,” said the report, quoting Ansari.

Faizabad Superintendent of Police Vijay Pal Singh told PTI, the two have been "detained by police" and he will "let them know" when a case has been filed.

The development came as the Supreme Court of India was hearing responses by two people for allegedly threatening Rajeev Dhavan, who is representing the Sunni Waqf Board and other Muslim parties in the dispute.

A contempt petition had been filed against N. Shanmugam, a retired education officer, and Sanjay Kalal Bajrangi, a resident of Rajasthan, for allegedly issuing threats to Dhavan for taking up the case on behalf of Muslim parties.

Last month, India's top court had announced it would hear arguments every day in an effort to resolve the decades-old dispute over what should be built on the ruins of a 16th-century mosque.

The dispute over the site in northern Uttar Pradesh state is one of the most polarising issues in India.

In 1992, a militant Hindu mob tore down the centuries-old mosque, triggering riots that killed about 2,000 people in one of the worst instances of communal violence in India.

Many Hindus claim a spot there marks the birthplace of Ram and allege that the Babri Mosque, which stood there for 460 years, was built after the destruction of an earlier temple.

After the demolition of the mosque, the Supreme Court took control of the controversial site.

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