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Government plan to drive out Muslims from Ayodhya
By Manzar Mehdi

Muslims living in Ayodhya for centuries are thorns in the eyes of Sangh clan and efforts are continuously being made to compel them to vacate Ayodhya. After demolition of Babari Masjid on 6 December 1992 the ‘karsevaks’ had selectively killed Muslims and burnt down their houses and shops. This was the first step in Vishwa Hindu Parisahd’s (VHP) long-term plan towards this end under which Ayodhya is to be made free from Muslims. At that time 14 people, including one woman, were killed and 167 houses and shops were burnt. 

Thereafter, whenever VHP asked the ‘karsevaks’ to assemble at Ayodhya its aim was to so much frighten the Muslims as to compel them to leave Ayodhya. Last time when these karsevaks had assembled at Ayodhya with shining ‘trishuls’ (tridents) and naked swords on the occasion of ‘shila daan’ (stone donation) on 15 March, one of their objectives was to frighten and compel them to migrate from Ayodhya and VHP did succeed to some extent in its dangerous plan. A large section of Muslims, who had seen the terrorism of karsevaks in 1992, was compelled to leave Ayodhya. They returned to Ayodhya only after peaceful completion of ‘shila daan’ on 15 March.

According to VHP president, Ashok Singhal, who has a plan to keep Muslims ten miles away from Ayodhya, just as non-Muslims are not allowed entry into Makka, in the same way Ayodhya too is a very holy place according to Hinduism and so this too should be free from Muslims. 

For hundreds of years Ayodhya has been the centre of interests and faiths of every community because of religious places and places of worship of different religions. People of every community are inhabiting this place. Like Hindus, Muslims too are living here for hundreds of years. There are many temples whose trustees are Muslims. The business of flowers, which are placed on idols and other places in the temple, is dominated by Muslims. They are breathing in the atmosphere and air of Ayodhya for hundreds of years. Therefore, in spite of best efforts of the Sangh clan, Muslims of Ayodhya are not willing to leave this city.

Seeing the efforts of the Sangh clan coming to naught, the government has now taken up the gauntlet of freeing Ayodhya from Muslims. The 167 acres of land acquired for the protection of the disputed Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi land now appears to be insufficient to administration. Now, therefore, it requires more land to extend the acquired area and the lands to be acquired now are all Muslim localities. Mohalla Qaziana and Terhi Bazar are Muslim majority areas which are to be targeted now. Therefore Muslims have themselves to decide now where they should go after their localities are acquired. In this way Ayodhya will be got vacated gradually by Muslims. 

During the last two or three years government machinery and means of communication are very cleverly spreading the news that Ayodhya is becoming the centre of terrorism. A couple of persons have also been arrested in this connection. Police is also alleged to have an encounter with one Imran who was alleged to be the commander of Lashkar-e-Taiyeba. No body is able to understand as to what terrorists have to do with Ayodhya but every body is aware of the acts of terrorism by the ‘karsevaks’ after Babri Masjid’s demolition and forcible entry of Ashok Singhal & Co into the disputed site on 17 October 2001.

In any case, safety of the disputed place is being made a problem on the excuse of terrorism. The suggestion offered for the solution of this problem is that the doors and windows opening towards the disputed site should be got closed and the neighbouring lands should be acquired. According to the new plan for acquisition of additional land, Mohalla Qaziana and Terhi Bazar are on top of the list where the population of Muslims is 90 per cent. Under this scheme, some mosques and ‘dargahs’ also will be under government possession. 

After the demolition of Babri Masjid, Muslims of Ayodhya had met Narasimha Rao and had reminded him about the problem of their safety. After the prime minister’s assurance only they had built their houses and shops anew. The government had also given some compensation to the displaced persons. When the ‘Vikas Pradhikaran’ had sent notices on building of new houses and shops, at that time also help from PM’s office had saved their position.

The plan, drawn up for the security and safety of the disputed site, has been sent to the government and the news has also been published in newspapers. When inquiries were made to the Receiver of the disputed land, Commissioner Atul Gupta about the veracity of this news, he denied any such proposal. When he was told that news about acquisition of more lands for the disputed place have appeared in newspapers, the Commissioner very casually said the newspapers publish such baseless news very often which I do not read. When he was requested to at least tell something about the proposal which has been sent for approval, his reply was that whatever proposal they send for security is not meant to be told to unconcerned people.

The plan to displace Muslims from their localities on the pretext of safeguarding the disputed place against terrorist attacks has made the 6000 Muslims of Ayodhya uneasy and worried. They are worried because they do not know as to where they should go and settle down if they are displaced from Ayodhya. Even ‘Sadhus’ and saints of Ayodhya are opposing the scheme of acquiring new lands. About thirty saints of Ayodhya held a meeting at Lokesh Temple and declared their strong opposition to any such scheme of acquiring more land. In addition to the opponents of VHP, many people who are supporters of VHP also attended this meeting wherein all ‘sadhus’ and ‘sants’ unanimously declared that the 167 acres of land already acquired by the government includes many temples also in which security forces are presently stationed. The stationing of security forces in these temples is a matter of sacrilege to these temples because these forces are using many things which are prohibited for them. Hence no more lands where temples are situated will be allowed to be acquired by the government for causing sacrilege to more temples.

These ‘sadhus’ have formed a committee to oppose and fight against government’s attempt to acquire more land. Mahant Yugal Kishore Sharan Shastri has been made the convener of this committee and Mahant Kanahiya Das Ramayeni, Mahant Narsinghdas and Ram Shankardas Ramayeni, who are all associated with VHP, have been made members of this committee. 

If the government approves this new proposal of acquiring more land, it must be understood that VHP’s plan and thinking, that Ayodhya can be a holy place only when it is free from Muslims, is being put into practice. (Translated from Urdu)
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