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Time to rethink
By Shahid Raza Burney

Finally the dust of the Babri Masjid issue has settled down, if not permanently, but for some time for sure. The Supreme Court of India has disallowed any puja or function at the disputed site by the militants of Vishwa Hindu Parishad. In a way the Supreme Court has done the best in the interest of the country, and more for the cause of peace and communal harmony.. The verdict by highest court of the country by all means is an historic judgment, a thing which will not go down easily with the VHP cadre or the Sangh Pariwar that consists of the Bharatya Janata Party (BJP) the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) and the Bajrang Dal.

But let us bear this in mind: the verdict delivered by the Supreme Court does not call for proclaiming any sort of victory or defeat by either the minority or majority community. It is a sensitive and delicate issue which should be discussed and sorted out peacefully across the table. The country has seen enough bloodshed and destruction on this issue. Innocent people have been brutally, mercilessly and barbarically killed, and properties worth billions of rupees have been destroyed. How long are we going to allow this to happen? Where will all these lead to?

There are fears and apprehensions that if the fundamentalists are not controlled and the law and order not handled properly, then the country faces a very dangerous path of civil war, and all efforts should be made to see that this does not occur. Patience has a limit, and if the minority community members are going to be brutally burnt and lynched, pushed against the wall, then the repercussions will turn out to be worst. Desperate and frustrated people will be pushed to a situation where they will adopt all measures to safeguard their physical survival.

It is not that a solution to the Babri Mosque cannot be found out. But this is not allowed to happen by the selfish politicians and religious bigots from both communities. The issue is kept hot on the pyre so that it can be exploited to the maximum. It is not the kiths and kins of the politicians that are killed, but the innocent common people.

Why are the politicians, religious leaders and so-called leaders not willing to hand over the Babri Masjid issue to the intellectuals from both sides? What fears do they have on this front? I feel that indeed a time has now come when the issue needs to be settled once and for all. Let the government set up a committee consisting of eminent intellectuals from all walks of life from both the communities, sit down and sort the issue out. Keep the politicians, religious preachers and so-called leaders out of the picture, for their presence only leads to differences of opinions and aggravates the situation. Let us give these intellectuals a chance to find a solution to the Babri Masjid issue.

In the panel of Muslim intellectuals that we all would like to represent should consist of former Chief Justice Ahmadi, former Cabinet Secretary Zafar Saifuallah, former chairman of Punjab National Bank, Mr, Rashid Jeelani, Dr. Zafarul-Islam Khan, editor, Milli Gazette, Mr. Mujeeb Khan, writer-director, and Mr. APJ Abdul Kalam, the scientist.

The Muslims of India are now disgusted with their so-called leaders, and more frustrated with their 42 Muslim MPs who have lost their voices, except for the very concerned MP from Rajya Sabha Mr KM Khan. He is the only one who responded to the letter sent by the Muslims Intellectual Group of India, in which he sincerely expressed his concern for the Muslims. This ignorance and negligence on the part of the rest of 41 Muslim MPs has created more bitterness in the minds of Indian Muslims, and it is time for the Indian Muslims now to ask these MPs for their accountability for their contribution to the welfare of their community. These MPs need to be taken to task. What a shameful thing, that while these MPs have gone deaf and dumb, the majority community MPs from different parties are protesting strongly in favour of the Muslims.

More unfortunate is the silence of the Muslim countries. Not a single Muslim country has raised its voice against the killings of Indian Muslims in which more than a thousand deaths have taken place. While the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent influential US body created by the US government has asked President George Bush to speak out against the attacks on Muslims of India and urged the US government to press Indian government to halt the atrocities and violence against Muslims and to bring the perpetrators to justice, Muslim countries are silent.

In a nutshell and in the final analysis it is for the Indian Muslims to fight their own battle alone with whatever resources available with them. They should read the writing on the wall. They should protest against the blind eye attitude of the Islamic and Muslim countries, send letters to these governments and their ambassadors in New Delhi. Let us send a message to the Islamic governments that the Indian Muslims are not impotent and can handle their own affairs without any outside help or support,

More to the issue is that the Indian Muslims need to come on one platform, forget their differences, and maintain unity. That is the most vital thing for them to do now. The situation is clear: now or never.

Pune - 411028

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