In spite of getting due permission to hold a meeting at Mandi House, Delhi Police used the ruse of the prohibitory order and the Disaster Management Act to stop a peaceful protest demanding that the guilty of the demolition of Babri Masjid be punished. Defying prohibitory orders imposed by the Delhi Police, allegedly to prevent the spread of Covid–19, the protesters gathered at Mandi House, New Delhi, around 10:30 in the morning of Sunday, 6th December 2020. The rally had been jointly organised by Lok Raj Sangathan together with the Communist Ghadar Party of India (CGPI), Welfare Party of India, Lok Paksh, United Muslim Front, Mazdoor Ekta Committee, CPI (ML) New Proletarian, Citizens For Democracy, United Against Hate, Jamat E Islami Hind, Hind Naujawan Ekta Sabha, Purogami Mahila Sangathan, Popular Front of India and others. Lok Raj Sangathan, along with several organisations, has been consistently organising a rally on this day for years at a stretch.
Even as people were gathering for the rally, Delhi Police surrounded them and warned them that they had not been given permission to conduct any protest. The organisers decided to continue with the protest despite this. The protest started with militant slogans “Punish the guilty of 1984 and Babri Masjid Demolition!” “Down with state terrorism!”, “An attack on one is an attack on all!” “We want justice!” and “Inqilab Zindabad!” The protestors stood in two rows, holding banners and placards bearing these slogans and many more.
The proceedings of the rally were conducted by Sucharita of LRS. She welcomed all those who had come out to demand punishment for those responsible for the demolition of Babri Masjid, as we have been doing every year on this day, December 6th. “We will never forget the monstrous crimes of the rulers against our people – whether the genocide of Sikhs in 1984 or the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992 or any other. Our struggle for justice will continue! The people of our country demand accountability of those in power” she said. She pointed out that the rally was being held, as everyone present could see, in the midst of heavy state repression and violation of our democratic rights. Given the circumstances, she requested every speaker who followed to restrict her or his speech to just three minutes.
Raghavan, President of the Lok Raj Sangathan spoke next. He said we have been fighting for 28 years relentlessly without fail. This year, there was a lot of pressure on us not to have the event – firstly, because we are told that the courts have already given their verdict on the Babri Masjid issue and we have to accept it, and secondly because of the Covid -19 restrictions. Does this mean that we give up our democratic rights? No! Have the Courts given justice? No! We reiterate our demand that whoever is guilty of the crime of demolition of the Babri Masjid or of the Sikh Genocide of 1984 or other such crimes must be convicted and punished, no matter what position she or he may hold. The principle of command responsibility must be established so that those in positions of power and authority, under whose command such crimes against our people are organised, are punished. He called for an end to the blatant criminalisation of politics. He called upon all to unite and organise to fight for our rights. Pointing to how the government is arrogantly refusing to heed the demand of the lakhs of farmers who have now surrounded our city, the demand that the government repeal the recently passed Agricultural Acts and the Electricity Act, Raghavan said that to ensure justice and rights for our people, we have to be the decision makers. All these struggles are part of the same struggle of the people for their rights, for justice. He ended by saying that we should tell the present generation about crimes such as the Babri Masjid demolition, because they have to take forward the struggle.
Even as Raghavan was speaking, the police tried to disrupt the meeting. As Dr. SQR Ilyas of the Welfare Party of India took the mike to speak, the police forcibly pushed Raghavan, Prakash Rao, spokesperson of CGPI, Birju Nayak, Delhi Secretary of LRS, Shafi, National General Secretary of SDPI, Arif Akhlaq of Welfare Party of India and many activists into a police jeep and bus. But other participants continued to militantly raise slogans for punishment of the guilty and denouncing the police action.
Even as the rally concluded and the participants dispersed, the spirit of continuing to fight for justice, no matter what the odds, remained a source of great inspiration.
Punish those guilty of demolition of the Babri Masjid!
Down with the criminalisation of politics!
Uphold the right to protest against injustice!
An attack on one is an attack on all!