The acquittal of all the 32 main accused in Babri Mosque demolition case without any doubt is a big boost for RSS, Hindutva and politics of hate and divide. The BJP is the main political beneficiary of this miscarriage of justice.
It is a big day for reactionary forces in India who wants to make India a majoritarian Hindu state and a sad day for the progressive and democratic forces who wants to see India as an inclusive, plural, and secular democracy.
The state institutions are clearly following the Hindutva agenda. The police in Delhi sided with BJP and RSS goons during Delhi riots. The Indian judiciary is also seems in the grip of Hindutva and giving one verdict after the other which strengthen the perception.
The leading Pakistani English Newspaper Dawn in its editorial rightly pointed out that “the Babri Masjid destruction was a harbinger of much darker things to come.
Today’s India, where Muslims are lynched on suspicions of consuming beef, where the community is asked to prove its citizenship or be prepared to be disenfranchised, and where the Indian military machine punishes the people of held Kashmir with great barbarity, is in fact a country fashioned by those who were instrumental in bringing down the mosque.
If the country continues on this grim trajectory, very soon Muslims and other minorities may be transformed into a permanent underclass and denied all fundamental rights.”
The brute force, distorted history, and violence are the tools the shock troops of Hindutva use to silence all opposition. Even state institutions seem to be afraid of speaking the truth. Last year, the Indian supreme court had paved the way for a Hindutva victory while allowing a temple to be built at the Babri site, and calling for an “alternative site” to be given to Muslims for a mosque.
Once, Indians were proud of their secularism, constitutional rule, and democracy, but now all these are under attack. Secularism has been replaced by Hindutva majoritarian rule. The democracy and constitutionalism is also at stake.
In 1992, the Hindu far right got its wish as the mosque was soon turned to rubble as zealots razed it, while earlier this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundations for the Hindu Temple as all legal hurdles standing in its way were cleared. The judiciary cleared all the hurdles and appeased the Hindutva zealots through its judgments.
They may not know the finer points of legal arguments and precedents, but they have learnt over time that ideological domination somehow, or coincidentally, gets reflected in the conduct of every institution. This, in turn, leads to ideological hegemony—people choose to behave in conformity with the wishes of the political hegemonic. They do not have to be compelled to do so.
In today’s India, the RSS inspired Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is the political hegemonic, and Hindutva the lodestar of the largest segment of Indians. At the same time, though, there will be a substantial number of Indians who do not and will not subscribe to Hindutva. They will mull their choices as their hope of securing justice recedes.
The primary group among them is that of Muslims, whose constant demonisation has been at the root of the ascendancy of Hindutva. For them, the special court’s exoneration of BJP stalwarts, particularly Advani, signals a future without hope, a country rapidly going Pakistan’s way, an India where, despite Constitutional guarantees, they will be gradually reduced to second-class citizens.
The acquittal of senior BJP leaders and Hindutva activists in the Babri mosque demolition case has come as a big boost to the RSS inspired BJP whose leaders have insisted that the razing of the disputed structure in Ayodhya was a spontaneous act and not part of any conspiracy.
With the party set to intensify its campaign for the Bihar Assembly polls besides by-elections to one parliamentary and 56 assembly seats, the verdict has again brought the emotive issue, which has animated political discourse for long, to the centre stage and given the BJP a handy plank.
The special CBI court’s order effectively absolves the BJP of any responsibility from the most controversial aspect of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and what the Supreme Court had described as an “egregious violation of the rule of law” in its last year’s verdict that handed over the disputed site in Ayodhya to pro-temple parties in that dispute.
All the 32 accused, including BJP veterans LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Kalyan Singh besides Uma Bharti and Vinay Katiyar, were acquitted by the court in Lucknow almost 28 years after the FIR was filed following the mosque’s demolition on December 6, 1992 by ‘kar sevaks’.
The court said there was no conclusive proof against the accused, which also included Sadhvi Ritambhara, Champat Rai, and Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, who were all part of the movement. The verdict will ensure that the BJP while owning up the movement’s success in ensuring the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya can legitimately disassociate itself with the demolition.
It has also snatched a potent weapon from opposition parties, most of whom have targeted the BJP for the mosque’s fall while either refraining from criticising or even welcoming the temple’s construction. It was the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and Advani’s ‘ Rath Yatra’ in 1990 to mobile the masses in favour of building a temple at the disputed site, where believers hold that Lord Ram was born, that brought the issue to the center stage of national politics and helped the BJP emerge as an alternative to the Congress.
As part of the movement, Hindutva organisations had brought a large number of ‘kar sevaks’ at the site when the mosque was taken down by the mob. Reacting to the verdict, Advani said it has vindicated the BJP’s and his stand.
“It is a very important decision and a matter of happiness for us. When we heard the news of the court’s order, we welcomed it by chanting Jai Shri Ram,” he said. A BJP leader said the judgment has ensured that the Ram Janmabhoomi movement leaves behind a “proud legacy” for the party without having any dimension to it about which it might have felt defensive.
Though the CBI has the option to appeal in a higher court against the verdict, it remains far from clear if the central agency will do so.
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