LUCKNOW: The next friend of Ram Lalla in the Ram Janmabhoomi- Babri Masjid title dispute case, Triloki Nath Pandey, 77, passed away at Ram Manohar Lohia hospital in Lucknow on late Friday night after a prolonged illness.
Pandey played a prominent role in the title suit right from Faizabad district court up to the Supreme Court. He was bestowed with the ownership of Ramjanmabhoomi by the historic Supreme Court decree of November 9, 2019, by virtue of his stature as ‘Fast Friend of Ram Lalla.’
Pandey, who originally belonged to Ballia district, joined the RSS in 1964. He was appointed the district pracharak of Ballia in 1975 and came to Ayodhya in 1983. Since then, he lived in Ayodhya.
The three-judge bench of Allahabad High Court was given the sanctum sanctorum (middle part) in a three-way division of the then disputed land in September 2010.
Pandey was the third-best friend of Ram Lalla after Justice Devki Nandan Agarwal and TP Varma. Justice Agarwal, the late judge of the Allahabad high court, filed a petition in the Faizabad district court on July 1, 1989, in connection with the Ayodhya dispute, on behalf of Ram Lalla Virajman (the deity).
After his death, TP Varma took over the case. In February 2008, after Varma’s death, Pandey took over.
He was not the high-profile leader of the Ram temple movement, but he devoted his entire life to the legal battle for Ramjanmabhoomi. Despite his long association with Vishwa Hindu Parishad, he believed in a harmonious relationship with his Muslims, particularly, Muslim lawyers pleading for the Babri Masjid case.
Champat Rai, general secretary of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust and vice president of VHP, expressed deep sorrow at Pandey’s death.
“Triloki Nath Pandey died at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in Lucknow due to nerve-related problem. He played a prominent role in the Ram Mandir movement and the prolonged legal battle associated with the case,” Rai said. Saints of Ayodhya have also expressed grief over Pandey’s death.