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Published in the 16-31 Jan 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Opinion

Was Rao an RSS man?

After the demise of the former prime minister Narasimha Rao, media is discussing his role during 1991-96 and admiring his virtues. According to our culture, we are morally bound to remember the good part of a dead man and rarely talk about his sins and vices.

A very senior and upright journalist, former High Commissioner to U.K., Kuldip Nayar, had written about Rao’s climbing on the throne saying that a person of Sangh- mentality was always present (or implanted) among the leaders of the Indian National Congress, but this is the first occasion when such a person reached the presidentship of the party as well as the prime ministership. It was a serious warning to the peace-loving people of India.

BJP leader Advani embarked upon a Rath Yatra for igniting the flame to demolish the Babari Masjid with bloody riots in tail against Muslims. He led a peculiar Karsevak mob and demolished the 350- year-old Masjid on 6 December 1992. The heinous crime against Muslims was a kick in their face which generations to come will not be able forgive. The Union Government had deployed Rapid Action Force and some other Para-military forces in Ayodhya to "protect" the Babari Masjid. These forces were, however, instructed not to move even in a grim situation. Afterh the demolition, Narasimha Rao addressed the nation and promised to rebuild the Masjid at the very same site. Instead of rebuilding the mosque, he dismissed the BJP Government in U.P. and a temple was built on the land under his own central rule. Advani and his colleagues were arrested and kept in custody for a few days with all comforts including provision of a colour television set. Rao had achieved his goal. It is most essential to redress the injustice. Muslims are ready to obey the judgment of the Supreme Court. They desire to restore peace, fraternity, love and brotherhood among people. Poverty, starvation and misery of the Indian masses are due for elimination from the day one of the independence. This goal will be achieved only when total harmony prevails.

Muslims protested to express their deep grievance and in reply got the punishment in the form of atrocities by the police as well as communal elements. Thousands were killed and their homes and shops were burnt down. Mumbai had never seen such barbarism in its three centuries-old span of life. Great sons of India like JRD Tata and many others of noble souls had loudly protested but Narasimha Rao was not moved. He ignored the demonstrations even in foreign countries. Justice Krishna Inquiry Commission's report on Mumbai riots is still lying in the cold storage. We have many times found that the Congress and communal parties in India are not very much different in their approach to Muslims.

Narasimha Rao enjoyed the help of his so-called opposition party, the BJP, which adopted a resolution in the Parliament unanimously not to settle the issue of Kashmir bilaterally with Pakistan against Article 370 of the Constitution. Jawaharlal had deputed Shaikh Abdullah to Pakistan from his deathbed to search for a solution. He expired in waiting on 27 May 1964. That broken thread is not since picked up. A statesman has yet to appear on the horizon of the Subcontinent. People in both countries are suffering. National earnings are dumped on buying weapons, and now on nuclear power as well.. 
Criminal cases of corruption and Hawala transfers were reported against Rao and his colleagues in the Cabinet. It is said that he had started his political life in the RSS. Communal parties are at a great loss from his demise.

M. I. Ansari, Bhiwandi
forpeace@rediffmail.com
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