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HVK Archives: Ayodhya: BJP opens up the wound

Ayodhya: BJP opens up the wound - The Times of India

Harkishan Singh Surjeet ()
26 September 1997

Title: Ayodhya: BJP opens up the wound
Author: Harkishan Singh Surjeet
Publication: The Times of India
Date: September 26, 1997

The chargesheeting of 49 top ranking BJP leaders by the special court at
Lucknow on charges pertaining to the Babri Masjid demolition is being
sought to be exploited by the Hindutva forces to their advantage.

Undaunted by the charge- sheets, BJP president L K Advani in a signed
editorial in the BJP Today, has clearly indicated that in the coming days
the BJP will harp on justifying its shameful deed at Ayodhya. Mr Advani,
nonchalantly, states that the demolition of the Babri Masjid was not a
matter of regret. But in order to circumvent the legal implications adds
that "what is regretted is the manner in which it happened".

He approvingly quotes from a speech made by Arnold Toynbee during the Azad
Memorial Lecture where he cited an example of the demolition of a Russian
Church by the Poles after Poland was freed from Russian occupation. He has
termed the demolished Babri Masjid as an intentionally offensive monument.

In an interview in the latest issue of the RSS Hindi mouthpiece Panchjanya,
Mr Advani has come up with the new slogan of freeing "Lord Ram from
imprisonment" from the barricades put up by the government. In a bid to
arouse passions, Mr Advani has said that "Sri Ram Lalla is actually in
prison. The sooner he is released the better."

Kalyan Singh, who, despite being chargesheeted in the Ayodhya case, has
been chosen to he the BJP's nominee for the chief minister's post in UP,
said immediately after assuming office that "I reiterate that the BJP is
fully committed to the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, but this
can be taken up only when we have our own government at the Centre. The
state government cannot do anything in this regard."

The BJP leadership, as it becomes clear from the above observations, is all
set to capitalise on the Ayodhya issue once again. People of the country
dread the possibility of the Ayodhya issue assuming centrestage once again.
The riots that took place in the aftermath of the demolition of the Babri
Masjid, the loot, plunder and the gory, inhuman massacre of hundreds of
innocent men, women and children are still fresh in people's memory. The
minority community's faith in the secular fabric of our society was shaken.

When initially the other outfits of the saffron brigade - the VHP, the
Bajrang Dal etc -launched the agitation for demolition of the Babri Masjid
and construction of a Ram temple in its place, the BJP took pains to
seemingly dissociate itself by stating that it had nothing to do with it.
Even when the question of the presence of Mrs Vijayaraje Scindia and the
VHP's office-bearers was cited, it was stated that she was there in her
individual capacity. But it did not take long for the BJP to identify
itself directly with the Ayodhya issue which suddenly became the focus of
all its propaganda and agitation. In Ayodhya, it perceived an emotive
issue which it could capitalise on and exploit in its bid for power.

Soon after the VP Singh government announced the implementation of the
recommendations of the Mandal Commission granting 27 per cent reservations
to other backward communities, the BJP president Mr Advani embarked on his
now infamous rathyatra from Somnath to Ayodhya, leaving in its trail death
and destruction. Communal passions were raised to a feverish pitch and
distrust and discord were sown.

While the Muslim leadership was willing to accept a solution arrived at
through negotiations failing which it would accept a court verdict, the BJP
adamantly refused to have anything to do with the courts.

After the fall of the V P Singh government and the installation of the
Congress government headed by PV Narasimha Rao, the BJP went ahead with its
agitation. The climax was reached with a massive mobilisation at Ayodhya on
December 6, 1992. The 400-year-old historic structure was pulled down by a
squad that was trained for this purpose. The UP administration then headed
by Kalyan Singh acted as an accomplice in this criminal act by instructing
the police force not to act against the marauders and stop them from
demolishing the structure.

The CPI(M) has been consistently maintaining that such issues cannot be
settled by force. A process of negotiations should be started for arriving
at a solution, and if it fails the matter should be left to the courts. It
is the refusal of the BJP and its allied outfits to accept this that was to
lead to the subsequent deplorable developments.

The RSS which exercises guidance over the BJP does not tolerate any
dilution in the Hindutva plank of the BJP. The BJP has been bidding to gain
electoral allies by giving an impression that it is not a rank communal
party. This is not to the liking of the RSS which would like to see the BJP
emerge as a political organisation espousing the Hindutva cause with no
dilution in its ideology.

The RSS ideology knocks the bottom out of the secular basis of our society
and polity. This has dangerous implications given the fact that the
minority population in the country is not less than 20 per cent. There is
no need to recall our earlier experience.

With such slogans being raised by the BJP, those parties who have aligned
with the BJP will have to rethink their strategies or will have to
completely identify with the Hindutva ideology and plank of the party or
worse still merge with it. The clash of interests of various castes and
sections will come to the fore as the pitch of the campaign rises. This
will become abundantly clear in the political scenario in UP in the coming

>From the statements and the articles and interviews given by Mr Advani,
Kalyan Singh and other BJP leaders, it has become absolutely clear that
they have come to the conclusion that they cannot compromise or dilute
their philosophy of Hindutva in their bid to rally other forces and
parties. They have once again decided to make Ayodhya their main plank
with the focus on construction of the Ram temple on the ruins of Babri Masjid.

Ibis poses a big challenge to the Left, democratic and secular forces. The
defence of national unity has once again become a major task before the
country. We have to arouse the people against the dangerous moves being
made by the BJP We have to revive the traditions of the national liberation
struggle of secularism and patriotism on the basis of which alone Indian
unity can be protected. This challenge has to be met.

(Harkishan Singh Surjeet is general secretary of the Communist Party of
India (Marxist).)

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