AYODHYA: Iqbal Ansari, one of the seven litigants from the Muslim side in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit, has been invited for the ‘bhoomi pujan’ for the Ram temple at Ayodhya which would be performed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.
Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust has also invited social worker Mohammad Shareef, 82, who was awarded Padma Shree this year for performing last rites of more than 25,000 unclaimed bodies over a three-decade span.
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Ansari, 69, confirmed that he has received the invite. Showing the Trust’s invitation card to media, Ansari said: “I will attend the ceremony. The dispute over the land is now over after the court’s verdict.” He said he would gift a ‘Ramnami’ (sacred stole) and a copy of Ramcharitmanas to the PM when he meets him at the ‘bhoomi pujan’.
Ansari’s father Hashim was the first litigant from the Muslim side in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi case. After Hashim died at 95 in 2016, his son was included as a litigant in the case at the Supreme Court.
Ansari hoped that the construction of the temple would change the fate of Ayodhya. “I respect sadhus and sants. I am happy to have received the invitation for the ceremony. I think it is Lord Ram’s will that I attend it.”
When asked what he would have done had the court decided the case in his favour, Ansari said he had wanted a school and a hospital to be built on the disputed land.
Mohammad Shareef, popularly known as Shareef Chacha, may not be able to attend the ceremony because of his old age. His grandson Shabbir said, “We have received the invite, but my grandfather can’t walk or even speak. We are not sure whether he can go for ‘bhoomi pujan’.”
Trust general secretary Champat Rai told TOI that invitations have been sent out to 145 people, including 135 saints of 36 religious orders of India.