All 3 men mediating Ayodhya dispute hail from TN

From left: Former Supreme Court Judge F M Ibrahim Kalifullah, Art of Living Founder Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu. Photo: Twitter/DH file photos

Ayodhya dispute does not have much resonance in Tamil Nadu, but all three persons appointed by the Supreme Court to mediate in an effort to resolve the 70-year-old vexed issue are from the Southern state.

Former Supreme Court Judge F M Ibrahim Kalifullah, Art of Living Founder Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu have been appointed by the SC to mediate the issue.

While Kalifullah hails from Karaikudi in southern Tamil Nadu, Ravishankar was born in Papanasam near Thanjavur in the Cauvery Delta region. Panchu is a senior advocate and renowned meditator from Chennai. After the SC order, all three told the media separately that they will strive to achieve a resolution for the decades-old dispute.

The emotive Ayodhya issue had never resonated much in Tamil Nadu unlike in the northern part of the country. Kalifullah was Supreme Court judge from 2012 to 2016 and he was also Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir prior to that. After nearly 25 years of experience as an advocate, Kalifullah was appointed as a permanent Judge of the Madras High Court in 2000.

“I understand the SC has appointed a mediation committee headed by me. I'm yet to received order copy. I can say if a committee has been constituted, we will take every effort to resolve the issue amicably,” Kalifullah said in his initial response to the appointment of the panel.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who was in Papanasam in 1956 and founded The Art of Living Foundation in 1981, has been advocating constructive dialogue between the opposing parties on the Ram Mandir issue.

“Respecting everyone, turning dreams to reality, ending long-standing conflicts happily and maintaining harmony in society - we must all move together towards these goals,” Ravishankar said.

Expressing happiness at being appointed to the panel, Panchu said it was a very serious responsibility and that he will do his best. A well-known mediator, Panchu set up India’s first court-annexed mediation centre in 2005 and has been instrumental in making mediation a part of India's legal system.

He has mediated a large number of complex and high-value disputes and is a certified mediator on the panel of the Singapore International Mediation Centre. This is not the first time that Panchu has been appointed by the SC to mediate – earlier he was asked to mediate a 500 square kilometre dispute between the states of Assam and Nagaland.

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All 3 men mediating Ayodhya dispute hail from TN

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