Statement of Lok Raj Sangathan, 3 December, 2017
On the 6th of December, which marks the 25th anniversary of the demolition of Babri Masjid, people will be pouring out in large numbers in several cities to demand that the guilty should be punished and justice delivered.
On this day, 25 years ago, a crowd of people led by numerous politicians attacked the monument and razed it to the ground. The act was justified as the revenge of Hindus for the alleged destruction by the Moghul ruler Babar five centuries ago of a Ram temple at the same site.
The demolition of Babri Masjid was not the act of an enraged mob, as portrayed by those in power. It was a pre-meditated exercise, for which the BJP-led government in Uttar Pradesh and the Congress-led government at the Centre were both jointly responsible. The destruction of Babri Masjid was followed by large-scale communal violence in Mumbai, Surat and other cities. Thousands of innocent people lost their lives. The Srikrishna Commission, set up to probe the violence in Mumbai, pointed to the involvement of the BJP, Shiv Sena and Congress Party in organizing communal killings. The Lieberhan Commission, set up to enquire into the destruction of Babri Masjid, presented its report after 17 years and named leaders of both the BJP and Congress Party as being part of the guilty. 25 years after the demolition of the Babri Masjid, justice remains denied to the people. No government has taken any step to punish those guilty of destroying a historic national monument and of inciting communal violence, in which thousands of Indians died.
The Supreme Court will begin the next hearing on 5th December to adjudicate on the ownership of land where Babri Masjid once stood. The highest court will not be taking up the question of providing justice and punishing the guilty. How can we ignore the destruction of a national monument and the loss of thousands of lives and treat the issue as a land dispute? There can be no justice without punishing the guilty!
The demolition of Babri Masjid laid bare the fact that the communalization and criminalization of politics and unleashing of state terrorism had reached a new peak. It revealed the chilling truth that ruling and main opposition parties can commit murderous crimes with impunity to mobilise votes for themselves and serve the interests of the big corporate families who finance them. It showed that representative democracy is not a rule by the people, of the people and for the people. On the contrary, people are thoroughly marginalized in the present political process. Elected representatives are accountable not to the people but to the party which gave them the ticket to contest. People do not have any mechanism to punish their elected representatives or state officials even when they commit the most terrible crimes against the people.
The incident laid bare the fact that people are powerless. Sovereignty does not reside in the hands of people, contrary to the declaration in the Indian Constitution. Real power resides in the hands of the political executive, that is, the Council of Ministers or the Cabinet. This executive enjoys unlimited right to implement policy measures in the interests of corporate houses and anti-people legislations. It is constituted by the party or alliance which commands the support of a majority of elected members of the Lok Sabha. This executive can take decisions even without the consent of Parliament, reducing the latter to just a talk shop.
The judiciary, which is supposed to arbitrate when there are conflicts between the executive and the legislature, is not elected. It is nominated by the executive. The courts fall in line with the will of the executive.
The fateful events of December 1992 served as an eye opener. It was a watershed for Indian politics. It brought a wide variety of women and men of conscience together, to form a Preparatory Committee for People’s Empowerment in April 1993. The work of this Committee created the conditions for the formation of Lok Raj Sangathan in 1999 – a political mass organization committed to the goal of vesting sovereignty in the people.
Lok Raj Sangathan is committed to continue the struggle for justice to be rendered and to the cause of empowering the people and putting an end to communal violence and all forms of violation of people’s rights.
The current political process needs a thorough overhaul. It should be made people-centric. At present, political parties of the ruling establishment act as gatekeepers to power, preventing the people from playing a decisive role in running the affairs of the country. This has to end. The relation between people and their representatives, and the role of political parties, have to be transformed.
Candidates for election should be selected by the people, not by parties which are backed by corporate money power. All mass organisations of people must be able to nominate candidates. All nominated candidates must be subject to a process of selection by the voters in the electoral constituency. People must not hand over all their power to their representatives. People should have the right to recall representatives who fail to act in their interests. People should have the right to initiate legislation.
Over the last 25 years, our efforts to build political unity among various political parties, human rights and civil rights organisations and activists, workers and women’s organisations, lawyers, judges, academics, retired civil servants and other progressive individuals have met with considerable success.
Over these years, many organisations and activists have come together again and again to demand an end to the marginalization of people in the political process. Lok Raj Sangathan has worked to strengthen the unity among diverse sections of the people, on the basis of the principle “An attack on one is an attack on all”. We have demanded exemplary punishment for the guilty and the annulment of all black laws such as UAPA and AFSPA. We have exposed communal violence and the divisive politics of the ruling and major opposition parties as being the preferred method for corporate houses to impose their policies of privatization and liberalization, aimed at maximizing their profits at the expense of the rest of society.
Lok Raj Sangathan firmly believes that our people are not communal. It is the State which is communal. People who are targeted on the basis of their religious identity have every right to organise and defend their community. Victims of communal violence are not to be blamed for uniting as a religious group.
The 25th anniversary of the demolition of Babri Masjid is an occasion for all women and men of conscience to unite in support of the demand for justice. We must not be quiet when the Supreme Court, instead of identifying and punishing the guilty, wants to begin “final hearing” on a property dispute concerning the site of the destroyed monument.
Let us come out in thousands and lakhs in our cities to make the rallies on 6th December a massive success. Let us defeat the efforts of the ruling establishment to break our unity on the basis of religion! Let us defeat all attempts to fan the flames of Hindu-Muslim conflict!
Let us unite and carry forward the struggle to vest sovereignty in the people and put an end to communal violence and all forms of state terrorism! Let us uphold and defend the inalienable right to conscience of every human being! Our unity alone can save India from disaster!
Punish the Guilty!
An attack on one is an attack on all!
Sampradayik hinsa ka ek hi ilaj,– Lok Raj! Lok Raj!