Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to mediate Ayodhya case: Ex-SC judge FM Kalifulla, senior advocate Sriram Panchu

The Supreme Court on Friday ordered mediation in the Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid dispute and asked the court-appointed mediation panel to file the final status report in eight weeks. The mediation will take place in Uttar Pradesh’s Faizabad and the three mediators or the members of the panel include Former Supreme Court judge FM Kalifulla, spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Shriram Panchu.

Shankar’s new-found exalted status apart, we need to take his interview seriously because it echoes the views of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on Ayodhya on many counts. For instance, Shankar has asked Muslims to give up their “claims on Ayodhya as a goodwill gesture”, a demand RSS-BJP leaders have repeatedly made ever since the Ram Janmabhoomi movement was launched in the 1980s. Like the BJP, Shankar too believes it is difficult to implement a court judgement in the Ayodhya dispute.

Ravi Shankar has an aura of importance around him, partly created through deft manipulation of popular perception. But this manipulation builds upon an element of reality. For instance, it was under his aegis that an assortment of gurus signed a proclamation at a conference in Bengaluru on 4 and 5 December 2011 asking the United Nations to observe 21 June as International Yoga Day, an idea Modi endorsed and pushed after coming to power in 2014.

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