Jobs @ MG
Advani’s double-speak on Ayodhya
By PM Damodaran, Lucknow
|Two things have come to light in the
deposition of the Union Home Minister, Mr LK Advani, before the Liberhan
Commission on the demolition of the Babri Mosque. One, Mr. Advani was
‘pained’ and had become ‘sad’ at the demolition of the mosque by
the kar sewaks on 6 December 1992 but he was not ready to condemn it.
Second, the Home Minister considered the structure as a ‘temple’ and
that the de facto temple standing on the site of the demolished mosque had
now become a de jure temple.
Mr. Advani deposed before the Commission that ‘I have seldom felt so
‘dejected’ and ‘downcast’ as I felt that day (6 December 1992)’.
But how far he really subscribed to these views is known from his own
statement in Panchjanya of 24 January 1993 when he wrote ‘I am not
ashamed about what happened on December 6. I don’t regret the demolition
for which such a hue and cry should be made.’ How contradictory these
two statements are? But when the counsel for the Commission sought a
comment on his statement in Panchjanya, Mr. Advani ducked the question.
Besides, on several occasions, he had publicly stated that there was no
need for regretting the demolition.
Mr. Advani apparently did not tell the whole truth before the Commission.
If he was really pained at the demolition of the mosque as he claims now,
then why he set in motion the process of the kar sewa programme for the
construction of the temple? Moreover, why he and the VHP collected lakhs
of kar sewaks in Ayodhya if the plan was only for a ‘symbolic’ kar
sewa? Earlier in 1990 Mr. Advani had undertaken the rath yatra from
Somnath to Ayodhya for the cause of the temple. The signal from him and
the Sangh Parivar was too obvious to be missed by the kar sewaks who took
the law into their own hands on 6 December and demolished the mosque.
Significantly, a few days before the demolition of the mosque, Mr. Advani
had threatened in public in Kanpur and Allahabad that the kar sewa in
Ayodhya on 6 December might not be ‘symbolic.’ Moreover, in his
utterances before and after the demolition, the BJP leader had been
maintaining the stand that the faith is above courts and that courts
cannot give judgement on matters of faith.
Besides, if he had faith in the investigation why he tried to avoid
appearing before the commission for a long time? He was first served a
notice to appear before the Commission at the end of December last year.
Despite repeated notices issued to him to appear before the Commission in
January and March this year, he avoided doing so giving pre-occupation in
the government work as the reason!
Mr. Advani maintained that ‘what stands at Ayodhya is a temple.’ He
said that there stood ‘first a de facto temple, and today both a de
facto and de jure temple. This is not something which anyone else but the
court has decided.’ But the facts are against his contentions. None of
the courts, be the sub-judge, Faizabad; district judge, Faizabad; chief
judge, Awadh; Allahabad High Court or the Supreme Court had ever
maintained that the disputed structure was a temple.
In fact, a Supreme Court bench in the case in 1994 had observed ‘mosque
was demolished by the miscreants and they were not representatives of
Hindus, but criminals.’ Mr. Advani himself in his deposition at one
moment had pointed out that the government’s white paper had referred to
the disputed structure neither as a temple or a mosque. A pertinent
question arises as to why the kar sewaks demolished the disputed structure
if it was a temple!
Expectedly, Muslim organizations and the leaders and the opposition
parties have condemned the views expressed by Mr Advani during his
deposition before the Commission. The All India Babri Masjid Action
Committee has disputed the claim of Mr Advani that there is already a
‘de facto’ and ‘de jure’ temple in Ayodhya. Its convener, Mr.
Zafaryab Jilani pointed out quoting official records, that neither any
court nor the government white paper had described the disputed structure
as a temple.
Condemning Mr. Advani’s statement as ‘usurpation’ of the judicial
authority, the Babri Masjid Movement Coordination Committee convener, Syed
Shahabuddin, said that ‘no criminal trespass and subsequent unlawful
occupation which is under legal challenge, can destroy the title of the
original owner (of the land)’. Delhi Jama Masjid Imam Syed Ahmad Bukhari
said that the Home Minister’s remarks were basically a ‘denial of the
supremacy of law.’
The main opposition party, the Congress described Mr. Advani’s testimony
as ‘polished falsehood and doublespeak.’ The party spokesman, Mr S
Jaipal Reddy said that in expressing regrets at the demolition, Advani was
only shedding crocodile tears. Mr. Reddy said that Mr. Advani’s
presentation before the Commission ‘is a classic case of the main
conspirator posing like a helpless spectator!’ The General Secretary of
the CPI(M) Mr. Harkishan Singh Surjeet, on the other hand alleged that
through Mr. Advani’s comments, the BJP was sowing the seeds of communal
division. The BSP vice-president, Ms. Mayawati, asked why Mr. Advani did
not condemn the demolition if he felt that the act carried out by the kar
sewaks was illegal? q