A special CBI Court in Lucknow that was probing the question of whether or not there was a conspiracy in the Babri Masjid Demolition Case, on the events of December 6, 1992, acquitted all the 32 accused, saying that the Court found no evidence of a conspiracy, Instead, the evidence suggested that the accused were in fact trying to prevent the `activists’ from carrying out the criminal act of demolition. Some of the accused are very high profile individuals including L. K. Advani and Uma Bharti. There have been expressions of horror and shock at the apparent miscarriage of justice.
Leading newspapers in the country have carried detailed articles on how the events had unfolded on that day, and also on the background of the events, which came on top of years of preparation as well as whipping up of sentiments, organizing of large numbers of kar sevaks and manufacturing of shilanyas. Many commissions of enquiry of the past including the Liberhan Commission had submitted reports on these events and had concluded that there was much evidence that there has been a high level of organization involving members of both the ruling parties at the Centre as well as at the State.
The riots that took place in many places in the country after the events in Ayodhya have been proven beyond any reasonable doubt to have been organized by members of the major political parties of the ruling circles as well as by the state agencies. Thus, the judgement here seems to come in direct contradiction with many other recent observations and statements emanating from the highest levels of Indian judiciary, including from the Supreme Court judgement that granted the rights for the construction of the Ram Mandir at the site of the demolished Babri Masjid, during the course of which it was observed that the demolition itself was a criminal act.
Let us recall that the online dictionary gives the following definition of ‘conspiracy’: An agreement by two or more persons to commit a crime, fraud, or other wrongful act. Within this narrow definition the Court concluded that there was no conspiracy amongst the 32 accused to carry out this criminal act. The Court concluded that these individuals
did not envisage a situation where the crowd of tens of thousands of persons would actually carry out the destruction. The Court concluded that all the visceral speeches made by various individuals themselves were not causative of the acts that ensued. The primary accused L. K. Advani himself has said that it had been the saddest day of his life. And
yet the Court concluded that there was no conspiracy. One could go on and ask why such a seemingly absurd conclusion was arrived at by the Court.
The people of India have been dismayed and shocked at this turn of events. As an example one might take note of the following excerpt from the editorial in The Hindu of October 1, 2020 says: “Even when the Supreme Court handed over the empty site to those who wanted the mosque brought down to build a Ram temple, its recognition of the demolition as an “egregious violation of the rule of law” gave rise to hope that the ends of justice would be served by the punishment of those who mobilised the vandals.” Such hopes have now been dashed. It may also be noted that the manner in which the CBI went about trying to build the case of conspiracy was itself wanting, creating a fertile ground for the dismissal of the case and the acquittal of the accused.
Nevertheless, the decision is in full consistency with the events that have taken place in the country. It is obvious that in most major cases of rioting and public disorder and violence at large, no one is ever brought to book. No justice is ever delivered to those at the receiving end of criminal activities. One can look at instance after instance, of, e.g., killings of innocent victims in Punjab by armed gangs, or of murders in Assam, or of youth earlier under the pretext of crushing this or that uprising, or the killings of tribals in the hinterland, or of the events of 1984 in which thousands of innocent Sikhs were killed. There have been hundreds of riots across the length and breadth of the country, with the victims primarily being poor Muslims. And yet, it could be easily concluded that there never was a conspiracy, based on the evidence gathered or lack of evidence gathered by various law enforcement agencies, or investigating agencies or the police. The deployment of violence and anarchy is one of the important methods by which the Indian State carries out its business.
In the present instance, the events of December 6, 1992 were the launch pad into the national stage of the Bharatiya Janata Party, as a true contender to power at the Centre to replace the ageing Indian National Congress. It was to create a viable alternative to the discredited Congress that had ruled the roost for all the years since the birth of
independent India. It represented the economic and social policies that were required for the big ruling circles of India and these had run their course. Thus, it was necessary for Indian ruling circles to ditch their entire programme of socialistic pattern of society and to force the people to accept the paradigm of free markets and liberalization and privatization. The resistance that would arise to these would have to be dealt with and a preparation to unleash violence and anarchy on a large scale was very much a part of the thinking. To think otherwise would be to disregard the entire experience of the last 70 years and to have a pipe-dream about the nature of the institutions in the country, and the nature of the set up in the country.
The need of the hour is a sober assessment of the facts on the ground, and the recognition that all the parties of the ruling circles, the Governments as well as other State institutions work to keep to people divided and at each other’s throats, conspiracy or no conspiracy.
The only way out of this impasse is to challenge the status quo and to expose the fact that the people of the country have no say in running anything. Let the present instance be an opportunity to examine the nature of the polity in the country. All sections of society that are interested in solving the problems of the Indian polity, and in securing a future for the nearly billion and a half that live in the country must today unite and lay bare the dynamics at the heart of it.