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Muslims reject signature on the dotted line
By Zafarul-Islam Khan

Babri before the vandals struck  The proposed Mandir model


Muslim organizations all over the country, especially the various ‘Babri’ outfits, have categorically rejected any talks with the extremists who demolished the Babri Masjid eight years ago and now want the Muslims to put their signature on the dotted line. The extremists have apparently found Muhammad Hashim Ansari of Ayodhya, one of the original parties in the Babri court cases, to hold talks with them in order to resolve the tangle amicably. At the very same time the extremists declare ad nauseum that they do not accept the authority of the courts or the government and that they will listen only to the sadhus and that the Mandir will be built ‘at that very spot’ (mandir wahin banayenge). 

Muslim organizations have clarified that this is now an issue involving the whole Muslim community, indeed the whole Ummah, and no individual(s) have the right to settle it behind closed doors. They have also clarified that only the courts will decide this vexed issue. No other solution is acceptable to the Muslim community. 

On the other hand, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who startled the whole world and damaged his secular image by saying that building the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya was an expression of ‘national sentiments’ and that it was still an unfinished agenda, has now changed his line. First he clarified that there is no change in the government policy and that his administration will accept the court verdict. Later he warned the extremists in a newspaper article that the law will take its course if they initiate construction of the mandir on the disputed site. Days later he went a step further in the BJP conclave to declare that what he had said a month ago was a slip of the tongue!! Apparently the prime minister is under severe pressure from his allies, Trinamul and TDP in particular, who do not want to be seen sharing the Sangh Parivar stand on the Babri-Mandir issue. 

The destruction of the Babri Masjid, as the state machinery of one of the strongest nations in the world looked the other way and despite solemn pledges to the country’s apex court, only demonstrated that a certain section of our society does not believe in the rule of law and does not honour courts and the primacy of the Constitution if these come in the way of their ‘national sentiments’... 

Any realistic assessment says that Muslims will not be able to remove the makeshift mandir on the Babri site or stop the extremists if they go ahead with the construction of their mandir on the site of the martyred mosque. But, at the same time, as people with a sense of history and self-respect, we must never sign on the dotted line. Let posterity remember the grave injustice which was perpetrated on that spot in Ayodhya, which boasts of so many ‘genuine Ram Mandirs,’ on 6 December 1992 leading to the organized carnage of around three thousand innocent lives which paved the way for the BJP to reach Delhi durbar. Let Babri stay for ever in our minds and on the pages of history as the shame and albatross of the extremists. We may not be able to rebuild the martyred mosque but we must never give the extremists a clean chit.

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