Unite in the Struggle for People’s Empowerment!
Call of Lok Raj Sangathan, 5th December, 2019
A monstrous crime was committed 27 years ago. A 450 years old place of worship called Babri Masjid was demolished and communal violence was unleashed in which thousands of people were killed. The Liberhan Commission and the Srikrishna Commission pointed to the involvement of political leaders at the highest level, from the two principal parties in Parliament, both in the demolition and in the ensuing violence. However, no action has been taken against any of the guilty even though 27 years have passed.
The criminal cases against those responsible for the demolition of Babri Masjid are gathering dust in CBI courts. Those who were in charge of protecting the monument, and those in charge of protecting people’s lives at that time, including the BJP-led UP Government and the Congress-led Central Government, have not been held accountable. The popular democratic demand for the principle of command responsibility has been completely ignored.
While the guilty have not been punished, the Supreme Court has pronounced its verdict in the case concerning the ownership of the land on which the Masjid had stood. The land on which Babri Masjid stood has been declared to belong to the idol of baby Ram. The Central Government has been directed to establish a Trust to build a Ram Temple at the site.
In support of its decision, the Supreme Court has stated that there is no documentary evidence that Babri Masjid was being used by Muslims from the time of its construction in 1527 until 1856-1857. To question whether Muslims were offering prayers at a mosque made for that very purpose is utterly absurd. It is not justified to demand documentary evidence when it is a well-known fact that the British rulers destroyed all such documents after the Ghadar of 1857.
In the name of ensuring “complete justice”, the Supreme Court has instructed that 5 acres of land be allotted elsewhere in Ayodhya for the purpose of building a mosque. This is supposed to compensate Muslims for the illegal destruction of Babri Masjid on 6th December, 1992.
Everyone is being asked to accept this verdict, in the name of preserving communal harmony. However, there can be no justice if those guilty of committing crimes against humanity are not punished.
We, the people of India, are opposed to the destruction of any place of worship. We uphold the right to conscience – that is, the right of every human being to his or her belief and form of worship.
The destruction of Babri Masjid and the accompanying communal violence in 1992-93 exposed the naked truth that the vast majority of people have no power at all in the existing system of democracy. People have no control over the actions of their “elected representatives”, who are able to get away with any crime in pursuit of narrow vested interests.
While the Constitution speaks in the name of “we, the people”, the legal framework does not provide for people to be sovereign. Decision-making power is concentrated in the hands of the Cabinet within Parliament. The political process reduces people to the marginal role of voting for this or that candidate selected by parties of vested interests, who are backed by enormous money power. Members of Parliament are accountable to their respective parties and not to the people who elected them. The judiciary is appointed by the executive and not at all accountable to the people. In sum, sovereignty is vested in the hands of a miniscule minority, whose representatives act as if they are a law unto themselves.
On 22nd February, 1993, several organisations of workers, women and human rights activists jointly staged a bold protest rally at Ferozeshah Kotla, condemning the criminal deeds of the principal parties in Parliament. They appealed to all men and women of conscience to take joint action for bringing about a fundamental change in the system of democracy and the political process, so as to enable decision making power in the hands of the people. They gave birth to a Preparatory Committee for People’s Empowerment in June 1993, which subsequently reorganized itself as Lok Raj Sangathan.
Over the past 27 years, people have persisted in demanding that justice be done by punishing the guilty. The refusal of the authorities to punish the guilty and further escalation of communal crimes have only confirmed the urgent need to bring political power into the hands of people. Only then is it possible to cure our society of the diseases of communal violence, state terrorism, corruption, exploitation, abysmal poverty and widespread violation of rights.
Lok Raj Sangathan calls on all women and men of conscience to join the struggle for people’s empowerment!