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ہفتہ، 8 دسمبر، 2012

Babri Mosque demolition


 On December 6,20 years ago the historic Babri Mosque was razed to the ground by Karsevaks led by L.K. Advani the BJP leader. The demolition of mosque was followed by a frenzied mob killing 2,000 Muslims. Till today nobody has been punished for destroying the mosque.
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On December 6, 20 years ago, the historic Babri Mosque was razed to the ground by Karsevaks led by L.K. Advani, the BJP leader.

The demolition of the mosque was followed by a frenzied mob killing 2,000 Muslims.
Till today nobody has been punished for destroying the mosque.

This Thursday, the Indian Supreme Court directed a Rai Bareilly court to expeditiously hear the Babri Masjid demolition case against Advani and 19 others for charges of criminal conspiracy (dropped by the trial court).
L.K. Advani, who led the Rath Yatra and exhorted his followers to destroy the mosque, in a fit of repentance, has told the journalists, the other day, that “it (December 6) is the saddest day of my life.”
Ajit Sharma writing in the Hindustan Times, thus aptly put this show of regret: “The charioteer, who provided the catalyst for the movement by going across the country on Toyota Rath, making fiery speeches, now sings a different tune.”

Sharma also throws light on Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s role. In a speech to the Karsevaks, on the eve of the demolition of the mosque, Vajpayee had said: “The Supreme Court has allowed bhajan-kirtan (at the mosque site), which cannot be performed by one man. Many people have to be present. Sharp stones are there on the ground. The ground has to be levelled.”

Observes the Indian columnist: “It cannot be denied that the seeds sown by the Ramjanambhoomi Movement and the several events that followed, alienated the Muslims. They have become the first suspects when it comes to the acts of terrorism.

“Young (Muslims) men and women are picked up and kept in custody for years till it is discovered that there is no evidence linking them to terrorist strike.......The pogrom........that it unleashed after the demolition retaliatory bomb blasts of (99) further alienated and demonised Muslims across the country.”

A piece from the Asian Age editorial speaks for itself: For Muslims, who were reassured since partition that India was as much their home as everyone else who lived here, the demolition was a searing event. It played on their mind for years. The Muslim Indian has gone back to being active participants in every discourse. But what has not changed in two decades is that not a single individual has been held guilty, leave alone punished for the crime committed that day when murderous mobs were permitted to roam free to pursue their end by the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh as the Congress-led central government watched passively waiting on constitutionalism. In the event, a precedent has been set for mob rule to overwhelm the rule of law.
Kuldip Nayar in his new (yet to be released) book, Beyond the Lines, implicates the former Prime Minister of India P.V. Narasimha Rao and says that he “connived” at the demolition and claims that Rao kept sitting in a Puja when Karsevaks were pulling the mosque down and rose only when the last stone had been removed. Ranga Rao, Narasimha’s son, has, however, denied Kuldip’s version.

An interesting twist on the fallout of the Babri Mosque destruction, according to Mazher Hussain, writing in The Hindu, is that it stirred up the Muslims and helped to bridge the class divide among them “giving them a unitary identity and new political awareness.” This is only partially correct, as there is not much change in the plight of the Muslims in India.

Sachar’s Report is an evidence of their continuous suffering in various ways. Muslims are 14 percent of the Indian population. But do they have that much representation and participation in various fields? Ajit Sharma in his article stoutly rebuts the impression sought to be created by Mazher Hussain.

On Babri Mosque’s demolition, noteworthy are the remarks of Arundhati Roy, a social activist. She is known for candid and fearless expression of her well-considered views. On the occasion of the Babri Mosque demolition anniversary, at a Safdar Hashmi Memorial event, she said: “One of my worst days as the citizen of India was when the Masjid was brought down. It was an assault on the rationality of the constitution.” On the occasion of launching her new book, Hum Sab Ayodhya Hain, she added that “the situation is very much like it was then. Dissent is not liked today as well. And if we do that, we are charged with sedition. Cartoonists are put behind bars; two young girls are arrested from FB post. All this has put India’s secularism and the ability to tolerate different beliefs and opinions at stake.”

The preachers of Aman Ki Asha may keep these aspects of the so-called-and-claimed “Incredible India”.
The peaceniks, certainly, have a point. We all must work for peace and good relations with our neighbours.
At the same time, we cannot afford to ignore facts and reality. Yes, in the past, there have been indiscretions and serious mistakes made by us, but can we forget the way Indians militarily cut us off from the eastern wing. There could have been talks and negotiations in regard to refugees entering India, but marching an army into another country’s territories was highly reprehensible. Our behaviour with regard to our own people was indeed atrocious, but it did not mean that a foreign force would enter and start fighting in our country. Can we forget the Samjhota Express carnage? Can we reconcile ourselves to what the Indian military is doing in Occupied Kashmir that, according to the United Nations, is a disputed territory and we are an internationally recognised party to the dispute.

On the one hand, we are regaled with sweet songs and messages of love and amity, and on the other hand, despite repeated requests, the Prime Minister of India keeps refusing to visit Pakistan.
It is many, many years since an Indian Prime Minister visited Pakistan. Just three days ago, the Indian junior Foreign Minister, Ramchandran, accused Pakistan/Azad Kashmir of operating 42 training camps for militants. His language and tone were, indeed, aggressive and provocative.
We are rushing headlong into trade pacts and cultural ties, without fully weighing the pros and cons, and the plus and minus, of relationships we are entering into.

By all means have trade and fair relations, but thoroughly know the parties you are dealing with and judge their intentions and credentials in the light of their overall record and behaviour towards us. While India may have reason to accuse us of certain objectionable acts on our part, let us not forget what they did in “East Pakistan” and with regard to Occupied Kashmir, Samjhota Express tragedy, Gujrat and the Babri Mosque, and what possibly they are doing in Afghanistan and Balochistan. And how they are creating problems for us in regard to the flow of river waters to our country?
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By Inayatullah

The writer is an ex-federal secretary & ambassador, and a freelance political and international relations analyst.  Email: pacade@brain.net.pk

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