On 6th December, 2012 on the 20th Anniversary of the destruction of the Babri Masjid a march was organized by hundreds of people belonging to several organizations from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar at New Delhi. Banners with slogans like “an attack on one is an attack on all”; “punish the guilty” stood out prominently.
Slogans resounded in the air and onlookers were forced to stop and listen. Slogans condemning the destruction of Babri Masjid and calling for end to state terrorism echoed in the area. ‘Down with AFSPA, down with state terrorism, down with the divisive nature of the political parties’, emphasized the need for unity among all sections of Indian people against efforts to divide them on religious and sectarian lines. Organizations all over the city came together to demand and fight for a common cause. The demonstration reached Jantar Mantar where a skit titled Guneghar Kaun (who is the culprit?) showcased by Rangbhoomi Nayta Samooh got everyone thinking and questioning the divisive policies of the ruling class.
Prof Bharat Seth from Lok Raj Sangathan addressed the gathering and spoke about the destruction of the Babri Masjid in 1992, the massacres of Muslims in 1993 and 2002 and about the Sikh massacre in 1984. He said that people are very aware that the existing system does not work for them and they don’t feel safe. People always try to help each other, but the system ensures that they are forced into isolation and divided into countless camps. He pointed out that people are realizing the necessity of coming together irrespective of religious beliefs to press for punishment to those who are guilty of organising the massacres.
He also said that political parties do not care about what the people want, instead decisions are taken in the name of welfare of the people. He said that it is a matter of shame that people of our country have been demanding the right to justice for decades now and nothing has been done. He stated that the movement for punishing the guilty is a component part of the movement for the empowerment of the people.
Wing Commander Chatwal, Sikh Forum then spoke about the history of communal violence in the country. He said that it is important for people to come together and not see their fight as different, than those of others. He also spoke about the rally for the 1984 victims in November and stressed that all organizations and individuals should show support and fight together.
He was followed by other speakers – Gurcharan Singh, Akhlak Ahmad from APCR, Dr Ilyas of Welfare Party, Rohen from MSAD, Dr Taslim Rahmani from Muslim Political Council of India, Santosh from Communist Ghadar Party of India, Lokesh from HNES, Chaya from PMS and Dr Koya from Popular Front of India.
A highlight of the event was that several organisations that had organised demonstrations at Jantar Mantar decided to speak at each other’s meetings and then marched together at the end of the program as a sign of solidarity.