Is the man who scripted the latest Ayodhya episode a Congress man? A writer of religious text? A VHP worker? Or all above?
Ramesh Chandra Tripathi, defendant No. 17 in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title suit, who managed to get the Allahabad HC verdict deferred in the SC, is still largely unknown.
Seventy-two-year-old Tripathi, who has been fighting the case since 1959, is from a village in Ambedkar Nagar district. Tripathi has said in court he was a devotee of Lord Ram and a regular at the Ayodhya temple.
A Defence Accounts Services employee till 1997, Tripathi later started concentrating on his religious duties — writing Hanuman Natak, Astha Kendra Shakti Peeth –Vaishno Devi and Astha Shakti Peeth – Vindyachal – that won him the Awadh Bhushan Samman in 1998.
He is also reported to be a relation of former Congress CM of UP Sripati Mishra. But Sunni Waqf Board counsel Zafaryab Jilani told HT that Tripathi was earlier with the VHP. “Speak to Congress leaders to know more about him.”
Ranjana Agnihotri, who represented Hindu Mahasabha, said Tripathi had admitted to the court that he was not mentally very sound and preferred to keep quiet in the court.