I want to save nation from chaos: Ayodhya petitioner

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 on 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 Ayodhya".

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 lifestyle.

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 on Friday.

Tripathi and Chandra are set to face determined rivals in advocate Zafaryab Jilani and one of the key co-defendents, Hari Shankar Jain.

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 century.

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