A low profile retired government officer, Ramesh Chandra Tripathi,
has hit the spotlight in the temple-mosque row, thanks to his last
ditch effort to settle the age-old Ayodhya dispute amicably and
out of court.
Tripathi, 73, has sought deferment of the judgment slated for Sep
24. And the special Allahabad High Court bench here will take a
call on his plea Friday -- exactly a week prior to its ruling on
the Babri masjid-Ranjanmbhoomi temple tangle.
"My aim is to simply save the nation from chaos and catastrophe,"
Tripathi told IANS.
Detailing his role in the legal battle, he said it was in 1971
while he was in Jammu and Kashmir that he chose to get himself
impleaded in the Ayodhya case "because I felt the gates of the
Ranjanmbhoomi temple needed to be unlocked so that every devotee
of Lord Ram could be free to offer prayers at Ram's birthplace in
What prompted him to become pro-active again?
"Ever since it was declared that the high court would pronounce
its judgment Sep 24, newspapers have been flashing stories about
the massive security build-up the government is contemplating for
not just Ayodhya but the entire Uttar Pradesh.
"The requisition of 63,000 paramilitary personnel reflects the
shape of things to come. Naturally it has aroused all kinds of
apprehensions in the minds of the common people.
"Therefore, I thought of seeking the court's intervention to stall
the verdict for a while -- at least until the end of the
Commonwealth Games so that any trouble as a fallout of the verdict
would not impact the event.
"I have also urged the court to ask rival parties to try and seek
an out-of-court amicable settlement."
He added: "Already, there is so much tension in the country. Look
at Kashmir, Jharkhand, West Bengal...I feel it would make a lot of
sense to postpone the judgement."
A retired officer of the Indian Audit and Accounts Service,
Tripathi lives with his daughter in Lucknow, leading a simple
His counsel Prashant Chandra, who moved the application before the
special three-judge bench, feels the same way.
"After all, heavens would not fall if the judgement was postponed
for some time and sincere efforts were made to explore the
possibilities of an amicable settlement," Chandra told IANS.
Chandra proposes to argue the case before the special bench
comprising Justice S.U. Khan, Justice D.V. Sharma and Justice
Sudhir Agarwal Friday.
Tripathi and Chandra are set to face determined rivals in advocate
Zafaryab Jilani and one of the key co-defendents, Hari Shankar
Significantly, both Jilani and Jain believe that "heavens would
not fall" if the verdict is announced Sep 24.
Ironically, the same expression was used by Faizabad district
judge K.M. Pandey in 1985 when he ordered the unlocking of the
shrine gates that had remained locked after being taken over by
Hindu zealots Dec 22-23, 1949, night.
On Dec 6, 1992, Hindu mobs demolished the Babri mosque, triggering
nationwide riots. A section of Hindus says that Lord Rama was born
at the very site where the Babri mosque was built in the 16th
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