Ay­o­d­hya case chief lit­i­gant Bhaskar Das passes away at 89

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - FRONT PAGE - Pankaj Jaiswal let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

LUC­KNOW : Chief lit­i­gant in the Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid case and sarpanch ma­hant (chief priest) of the Nir­mohi Akhada in Ay­o­d­hya Ma­hant Bhaskar Das 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 cor­dial friend­ship be­tween them was as fa­mous as their sta­tus of be­ing lit­i­gants.

Bhaskar Das, who was un­well for a long time, was taken to 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 chief priest had filed a claim for the Ram­jan­m­boomi land’s own­er­ship in 1959.

Apart from be­ing the Nir­mohi Akhada sarpanch, he was also the 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 peo­ple to pay tributes and was cre­mated on the banks of the Saryu river in Ay­o­d­hya in the evening.

Faiz­abad MP Lallu Singh, for­mer UP 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 in Ranideh vil­lage in Go­rakh­pur in 1929. When he was around 16, Das joined the Naka Hanu­man Gadhi tem­ple and be­gan per­form­ing ser­vice pur­su­ing 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, Das filed a pe­ti­tion in the Suprme Court for own­er­ship of the en­tire Ram Janmbhoomi premises. The case is still go­ing on, and now af­ter Das’s demise, his dis­ci­ple ma­hant Ram Das is likely to take over as the lit­i­gant.

Chief min­is­ter Yogi Adityanath ex­pressed grief over the ma­hant’s death.

GO­RAKH­PUR : The chief priest of Nir­mohi Akhada and lit­i­gant in Ram Janma bhoomi Babri Masjid case Ma­hant Bhaskar Das who passed away on Satur­day was a na­tive of Rani Dih vil­lage of Kha­jni vil­lage in Go­rakh­pur.

Af­ter be­com­ing head of Nir­mohi Akhada he used to visit his an­ces­tral vil­lage reg­u­larly.

A staunch devo­tee of Lord Ram since his child­hood, Ma­hant Bhaskar Das de­cided to take sanyas while pur­su­ing stud­ies at San­skrit Vidyalaya in Harpur Bad­hat. He also had good re­la­tion with Ma­hant Digvi­jay­nath, for­mer tem­ple chief of Go­rakhnath tem­ple. His nephew Madan Pathak, who still lives in the vil­lage, said at 16 years Bhaskar Das left home in 1946 for Hanu­man­garhi tem­ple in Ay­o­d­hya. “When­ever he used to visit vil­lage he would tell chil­dren sto­ries of Ra­mayan and asked them to fol­low in the foot­prints of Lord Ram in their life,” said Pathak.

An­other res­i­dent of Rani Dih vil­lage Ram Ni­was, 70, told HT, “He wished to see the Ram Tem­ple in Ay­o­d­hya and when­ever he vis­ited the vil­lage he would tell peo­ple that soon the tem­ple would come up in the holy city.”

When­ever he used to visit vil­lage he would tell chil­dren sto­ries of Ra­mayan and asked them to fol­low in the foot­prints of Lord Ram in their life MADAN PATHAK, nephew of Ma­hant Digvi­jay­nath

Bhaskar Das

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