Chief litigant Bhaskar Das is dead
LUCKNOW: Mahant Bhaskar Das, the chief litigant in the Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid case and the sarpanch mahant (chief priest) of the Nirmohi Akhada in Ayodhya, died on Saturday. He was 89. With his death, both the chief litigants in the case from the Hindu and Muslim sides have passed away. Hashim Ansari, the oldest litigant in the case, died at the age of 95 in July 2016.
Though Ansari and Bhaskar Das were rival litigants, the close and cordial friendship between them was famous as their status of being litigants.
Bhaskar Das, who was unwell for a long time, was taken to the Harshan Heart Institute in Faizabad on Wednesday night after having severe breathing problems. He breathed his last around 3 am on Saturday.
The Nirmohi Akhada priest had filed a claim for the Ram Janmbhoomi land’s ownership in 1959. Besides being the Akhada sarpanch, he was also mahant of the Naka Hanuman Gadhi in the temple town in Faizabad district of Uttar Pradesh.
His body was placed at the Naka Hanuman Gadhi for peo- ple to pay tributes and was cremated on the banks of the Saryu river in Ayodhya in the evening.
Faizabad MP Lallu Singh, former Uttar Pradesh Congress committee president Nirmal Khatri and several local leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) paid homage to Das.
According to Naka Hanuman Gadhi, Bhaskar Das was born to Bhagwat Pathak in Ranideh village in Gorakhpur in 1929.
When he was around 16, Bhaskar Das joined the Naka Hanuman Gadhi temple and began performing service at the temple and started his religious studies. In 1959, Nirmohi Akhada’s mahant Raghunath Das filed a case claiming Ram Janmbhoomi. At that time, Bhaskar Das, who was in charge of rituals at Ram Chabutra on the premises, too joined the case and filed the claim.
After the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court gave a verdict in the case on September 30, 2010, Bhaskar Das filed a petition in Suprme Court for ownership of the Ram Janmbhoomi premises. The case is still on. After Das’s demise, his disciple mahant Ram Das is likely to take over as the litigant.
People pay tribute to mahant Bhaskar Das who died in Ayodhya on Saturday. The Nirmohi Akhada priest had filed a claim for the Ram Janmbhoomi land’s ownership in 1959. HT PHOTO