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Hyderabad-based Habeebuddin Tucy claims to be 6th generation descendant of the last Mughal emperor, asks to be appointed caretaker of Babri site

With the Supreme Court set to begin proceedings in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmbhoomi title suit on December 5, a new twist to the decades-old dispute emerged on Tuesday. A man claiming to be a sixth generation descendant of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal ruler, asked the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Waqf Board to appoint him caretaker of the site where the Babri Masjid once stood.

Dressed in a garishly golden sherwani, strings of pearls hanging down his neck and sporting a turban decorated with broaches and embroidery, 42-year-old Habeebuddin Tucy, could be dismissed as some actor trying to portray a Mughal character in a low budget theatre production. However, on Tuesday, the Hyderabad-based self-proclaimed Mughal descendant, who is addressed as Prince Yakub by his peers, convened a press conference in Lucknow to claim that he is the rightful heir of the sprawling property in Ayodhya over which the Babri Masjid once stood.

Tucy said that he had already sent an application to the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board – which currently is fighting case in the Supreme Court seeking the title-ship for the disputed site in Ayodhya to be bestowed on the Babri Masjid – and sought the designation of mutawwali (caretaker) of the Babri Masjid site.

Yakub claims that he has set a deadline of November 5 for the Sunni Waqf Board to respond and would then approach the Supreme Court if he doesn’t get a favourable reply.

“This is not the first time I am staking claim of mutawwaliship to my ancestors’ property. A civil court in Hyderabad also acknowledged my lineage and the Waqf board should adhere to my application,” Tucy, who had once demanded the caretaker’s title for the Taj Mahal and was rebuffed for it, told mediapersons in Lucknow.

For a comprehensive theatrical effect, the new ‘Last Mughal’ even presented a DNA report before the mediapersons, claiming that the document was “evidence” of him being the descendant of Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar. Tucy, however, failed to inform which Mughal he had matched his DNA sample with to make the tall claim, considering that Zafar – the last popularly known Mughal Emperor of India had died over 150 years ago!

Tucy said that he had also met Uttar Pradesh minister, Chowdhary Laxmi Narayan with his ownership claims and was advised by the minister to submit an application to the Sunni Waqf Board in this regard.

The self-proclaimed Mughal descendant also claimed that once he wins the Babri Masjid ownership case in court, he will solve the decades-old communally charged dispute of the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmbhoomi title suit through dialogue.

Tucy claimed that he had also held discussions with Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar over his demand and will have more discussions with the spiritual leader. Ravi Shankar had, last week, claimed that he had been approached by the petitioners in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmbhoomi title suit to act as an interlocutor. The Art of Living founder’s claim, however, was promptly dismissed by the Muslim side of the title suit’s petitioners, with the Sunni Waqf Board and the Babri Masjid Action Committee both declaring that they had not officially designated any individual to speak to Ravi Shankar.

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