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SC tried to create a balance between parties, says the man on whose petition locks were opened in 1986

Advocate Umesh Chandra Pandey on whose petition the locks were opened in 1986 says he stands vindicated after the judgment. “My moulding of relief has been accepted directly or indirectly. My plea was that in case no body is found to be the owner of the land then that should be given to state government. The Supreme Court by giving the verdict has directed the central and state government to form trust and has indirectly given the land to centre and state government,” he told ET.

It was on Pandey’s petition in 1986 that the locks of the disputed site were opened in Ayodhya and it proved to be the biggest milestone leading to Ram Temple movement.

On January 25, 1986, Umesh Chandra Pandey, an advocate filed an application that public must be permitted to have Darshan from inside and locks placed on brick-grill wall in 1949 should be removed. “I found that there was no judicial order to lock the disputed site ” Pandey told ET. The site was locked after December 23, 1949, when idols were found in the central dome of then mosque. Since then Musilms had not offered Namaz in the complex.

Pandey’s petition was first rejected by the Munsif magistrate saying that files related to the matter are before the High Court and the matter can’t be heard. He filed an appeal in Faizabad district court against the order on January 31, 1986. Mohamad Hashim one of the plaintiffs in earlier suits from the Muslim side came to know about the appeal and on February 1, he filed an application for being impleaded as a party in the case. District Judge K N Pandey held that Mohamad Hashim was neither a necessary nor a proper party and rejected his application on the same day. Both DM and SP of Faizabad were present in court on February 1, 1986 and they admitted that if the locks were opened there wouldn’t be any problem to maintain peace. The court ordered to open the locks and it were opened on the same day.

Once the locks were opened, On Febraury 5, Muslim leaders and lawyers for Sunni Waqf board held a meeting in Lucknow. 23 Muslim MLAs across the party were present in the meeting. Next day in another meeting, a Babri Maszid Action Committee was formed and Azam Khan was first named as convener. But sighting his political affiliations, Khan backed off and lawyer Zafaryab Zilani was made the convener.

At that time Congress had government in both centre and the state.

Source: Economic Times