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HVK Archives: Two Editorials

Two Editorials - The Times of India

Editorial ()
December 12, 1992

Title: Means to an end
Author: Editorial
Publication: The Times of India
Date: December 12, 1992

Title: Two Editorials

We are sending these two editorials once against to highlight
the way issues are dealt within India by the so-called
intellectuals media.

Given the communal frenzy in which the country finds itself, it
was inevitable that the arrests of some of the leaders of the
sangh parivar would be followed by the ban on communal
organisations. The time taken by the Centre to impose Title: was
evidently not the result of feet-dragging, as was initially
suspected but of the need to plug any legal loopholes. Although
arrests and bans militate against the country's democratic
tradition, there was apparently no alternative in the present
instance because of the threats to political order posed by
organisations like RSS, the VHP, the Bajrang Dal and the Islamic
Sevak Sangh. The Jamaat-e-Islami's fundamentalist policies also
meant that it could not escape the provisions of the Unlawful
Activities (Prevention) Act at a time when some of the worst
rioting since partition is taking place all over the country.
The need to take such a stern step was also necessary to restore
confidence among the people, especially when the Centre had
palpably failed to prevent Sunday's vandalism in Ayodhya, a
grievous lapse regardless of attenuating circumstances. Now that
the authority of the state has come down so heavily on those
responsible for lighting the communal fuse, the message has gone
out loud and clear that the Centre will leave no stone unturned
to ensure that nobody can hold the country to ransom.

It has to be remembered that the latest steps are only the means
to an end. It is necessary to use this opportunity to reaffirm
the parameters within which the political parties and their
allied organisations will have to function. The Prime Minister's
television interview gave some indications in this regard for,
as he said, the ountry will go to pieces if we leave the path
of secularism. The arrests and the bans are meant only to
exphasise the point that no one will be allowed to defy the
constitutional order. The corollary to this is that there must
also be faith in that order, a commitment which the All-India
Babri Masjid Action Committee has violated by its outrageous
decision to seek U.N. intervention in the Ayodhya dispute. It is
clear enough that implementing the prohibitory orders will not
be easy in such an atmosphere of defiance and lack of faith. The
Centre may also face additional problems in the BJP-ruled
states. Even otherwise, the enormous difficulties of enforcing
the ban should not be overlooked, especially where organisations
with an extensive network (and also currently in an upbeat mood)
are involved. Notwithstanding such difficulties, the latest
measures are at least likely to ensure that mischief-mongers
will be aware of the risks they now run.

Title: Yet another rebuff
Author: Editorial
Publication: The Times of India
Date: June 7, 1993

In quashing the ban on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the
Bajrang Dal, the P.K. Bahri tribunal has made the Narasimha Rao
government eat crow. The rebuff is no way mitigated by the
tribunal's decision to uphold the ban on the Vishwa Hindu
Parishad. In fact the Allahabad High Court recently ruled
against the ban imposed on the RSS after the demolition of the
Babri mosque at Ayodhya on December 6, 1992. Since that ruling
had already exposed the Union government's shoddy homework the
tribunal's final verdict was a foregone conclusion. Admittedly
the ban on these organisations was a knee-jerk response of a
panicky government that suddenly found itself confronted with
the enormity of its political miscalculations. Developments
within the ruling party also dictated that the Prime Minister be
seen as doing something firm and decisive against the RSS-VHP-
BJP combine. But once that moment passed, the sense of urgency
too dissipated, so much so that there were-indications that the
government did not have its heart in arguing its case before the
tribunal. It will be now entirely graceless for the government
to appeal against the tribunal's verdict even if the Supreme
Court is inclined to entertain such a request. Not unexpectedly,
the verdict is being hailed as both a legal and moral victory
for the Hindutva movement. A re-changed BJP has already demanded
that its dismissed governments in at least three states be
reinstated, even before the Supreme Court has a chance to
pronounce on the legality of the dismissal of its ministries in
Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh.

The Babri tribunal's verdict is in essence yet another rebuff to
leaders-who believe that political can be won by taking recourse
to administrative fiats and legal short-cuts. In recent times
the government had deliberately sought to use the judiciary to
get the better of its Ayodhya protagonists, without giving much
thought to the damage that such involvement in bitter and
intractable religious disputes would do to the judiciary's
efficacy and legitimacy. This too-clever-by-half strategy
resulted in the tragedy of December 6. The latest humiliation of
the Congress can be turned to some advantage only if the ruling
party learns that its sundry leaders cannot wantonly prod one
another to misuse constitutional powers while settling internal
disputes. The tribunal's verdict should now restore the Ayodhya
dispute to the political arena where Title: rightly belongs. At
the same time the tribunal's ruling on the correctness of the
ban on the VHP is warning to those like Sadhvi Ritambhara who
are disinclined to accept moderation and restraint in their
public pronouncements. Excesses of one kind will inevitably
invite excesses of another kind.


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