Call of Lok Raj Sangathan, 13 November 2021

The people of this country can never forget December 6, 1992. On this day, 29 years back, a 450-year old national monument, the Babri Masjid, was razed to the ground by violent mobs demanding the building of a temple for Ram at the very same spot. The demolition and the carnage that followed this vile act in the next few months Mumbai, Surat and several other cities aimed to put the blame on people of Muslim faith and humiliate them. To this day, the demolition remains a blot on the nation’s history.

While the media projected the events on that day as an act of spontaneous frenzy, it has been well-established that the demolition was pre-meditated and meticulously planned. Prior to the event, communal passions had been systematically whipped up by both the Congress Party and the BJP and its’ allies. Many years preceding the event, in 1986, Rajiv Gandhi’s Congress government removed the locks on the premises to allow worship by Hindus, in an act of appeasement to the majority community. The BJP, which had been actively building its image as a proponent of Hindutva, and its’ allies like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, utilised this development to campaign for the building of a Ram temple in the spot where the Masjid stood. Together the two political groups indulged in spreading the communal poison and vied with each other in destroying communal peace.

On the day in question, the Central Government led by Congress and the UP State Government, led by BJP, both, allowed the demolition to happen, through criminal acts of commission and omission. While the leaders of the BJP led from the front, the leaders of the Congress stood on the side-lines and watched the events unfold without lifting a straw, not doing anything to stop the demolition or the carnages that followed it.

Several Commissions of Enquiry appointed by the government itself provided voluminous evidence to confirm the complicity of political leaders and the administration in this crime. Despite this, the CBI Court declared in 2020, eighteen long years after the incident, that there was ‘lack of evidence’ of a conspiracy to pull down the structure. With this assertion, key leaders of the BJP and Vishwa Hindu Parishad, whose presence at the site could not be denied even by compulsive liars, were acquitted.

In another incidence which definitely revealed the concerted manner in which different arms of the Indian ruling establishment  acted to let justice suffer, a Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court reduced the dispute to one of claiming title to a piece of land and declared in favour of the construction of the Ram Temple over the ruins of the Masjid. The Muslim community was offered an alternative site for building a new mosque, which offered little consolation and certainly could not wash away the travesty of justice.

Thus, while the media had come up with enough evidence of involvement of perpetrators of the crime and the courts had agreed that it was an unlawful act, the guilty could never be finally formally identified, charged and proved to be guilty!

The Babri Masjid demolition has been projected as a one-off incident in which a few hundred Kar Sevaks of the Hindu faith went overboard and razed a historic Muslim monument. This is a blatant lie. The demolition was nothing short of a well-planned and calculated action of the Indian ruling establishment to destroy the unity of people and sow hatred and suspicion between communities. This policy of ‘divide and rule’ has remained a time-tested policy of the ruling establishment since colonial rule and their most potent weapon to deprive the people of empowerment, the taking of political power in their hands.

Right from the Partition of India in 1947, communal violence and hate propaganda have served the rulers well to retain political power, break the unity of people and keep them vulnerable in the face of unemployment, inflation, and marginalisation. A few months after the demolition several innocent people were killed in bomb blasts which were projected as a desperate act of Muslim terrorists to avenge the demolition. Since then, communal violence and bomb blasts became regular incidents in the country claiming innocent lives of all communities. In 2002, Muslims were targeted in a genocide which was explained as a retaliation of Hindus to the Godhra incident. In the name of ‘war against terrorism’ the Muslim community was targeted as ‘anti-nationals’ and terrorists. Draconian laws such as the UAPA were unleashed, particularly targeting those who opposed such policies and actions of the government.

As recently as last year the people of India came out on the streets in their millions, to denounce laws like the blatantly discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act of 2019. Notwithstanding the communal violence unleashed in Northeast Delhi and the preventive arrests and detention of thousands of people, the Muslim community and all those who have stood for human rights and justice have vigorously come out opposing these acts.

It is in this spirit of defending the rights of people and demanding justice that soon after the demolition of Babri Masjid, several organisations of workers, women, and human rights activists jointly staged a daring protest rally at Ferozeshah Kotla in New Delhi on 22nd February 1993. In an appeal to all men and women of conscience, these organisations demanded that the guilty be punished. But they also pointed out that punishing the guilty alone cannot solve the problem until the powerlessness of people in the present political process is addressed comprehensively and decisively. They demanded that the political process be reconstituted in such a way that people can play a central role in the day to day affairs of the country.

Their demand that the right to conscience – that is, the right of every human being to his or her belief – should be guaranteed found resonance among many. They emphasised that ‘an attack on one, is an attack on all’. They also enjoined on people and their organisations to unite against the criminalisation of politics and end the domination of the major parties of the ruling establishment over the political process of the country.

This initiative gave birth to a Preparatory Committee for People’s Empowerment in June 1993, which subsequently reorganised itself as Lok Raj Sangathan.

Over the years, Lok Raj Sangathan has been consistently demanding that justice be done by punishing those guilty of destroying Babri Masjid and unleashing widespread communal violence. We have been persistently organised protests against state-organised communal violence and state terror, in spite of the pressure from the ruling circles to ‘forget and forgive’. We have also demanded that those guilty of other monstrous crimes against the people – such as the genocide of the Sikhs in 1984, the genocide of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002, the recent communal violence in North-east Delhi and many other crimes – must be severely punished irrespective of their status and position.

In order to stem the darkest forces from continuing to divide the people on communal lines and put down their protests brutally, the entire political process has to be transformed in such a way that people occupy the centre-stage of politics. Practically this means that the Constitution should guarantee the right of people to live in peace and communal harmony. Mechanisms should be created through which people can select and elect their candidates in elections to break the monopoly of the political parties of the ruling establishment. They should enable people to recall their representatives if they do not fulfil the expectations of people. People should be able to get black laws such as the UAPA annulled while at the same time having the right to initiate legislation that can ensure peace and communal harmony.

Today, efforts are being made by the darkest forces to provoke communal violence, polarise the people on the basic of religion, and attack their rights, including the right to association and the right to conscience. In this grave situation, it is incumbent on all citizens of conscience to come out in large numbers and oppose the attacks and the marginalisation of the people from the political process.

Let us join the protest rally at Jantar Mantar on Monday, December 6, 2021, being organised by Lok Raj Sangathan and several other organisations.

An attack on one is an attack on all!

By admin