Who gains most by Ayodhya-Drama?

Once again, an attempt is being made to revive the Ayodhya-dispute, in a bid to gain political mileage out of it. Except for making substantial political noise, over what seems a futile exercise to gain a little publicity through ample media coverage, what else can be the result? Certainly, the top judiciary’s respect for secular and democratic spirit of the Indian Constitution by ensuring that those responsible for demolition of the mosque are not absolved of their charges, cannot be sidelined. At the same time, attempts have been made by several elements to violate the apex court’s order that status quo at the disputed site must be maintained. This refers to Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) sadhus, reportedly, entering the disputed site with a religious symbol earlier this month with the help of certain administrative authorities. What does this really suggest?

This may be viewed as a symbolic attempt made probably with the help of the new Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh to send across a message that he is committed to his stand regarding the construction of a temple at the disputed site. But let us also accept the fact that there is a major difference between conveying such symbolic messages and implementing the same, particularly when they are related to matters of dispute pending before the apex court. In essence, Indian citizens as well as leaders holding political offices remain bound to be committed to dictates of the Indian Constitution. Violating the same is equivalent to committing an offence, on which judicial action may be taken against the offenders. Not surprisingly, the UP Chief Minister has not personally violated the dictate of the Supreme Court. However, the fact that the action has occurred during his tenure cannot be ignored.

The timing of the reported violation has an ironical touch to it. It occurred soon after shunting of key state officials. Javeed Ahmed was transferred from his position of Director General of Police (DGP) to another post. Maybe, had Javeed remained the DGP, violation of judicial dictates may not have been an easy task or even possible for VHP zealots. This adds credibility to the view that the violation was probably a means used by the UP Chief Minister to convey his stand towards the disputed site. However, legally he cannot be charged for the same, as he was personally not involved. At the same time, the violation was probably deliberately committed in order to enhance his “religious” credibility among Sangh Parivar members and extremist elements associated with this group.

Now, can he go further than sending across such symbolic messages? Certainly, he has tried to make the task easier for himself by bringing out certain changes in UP’s services. But while holding prayer services at the disputed site and ensuring substantial media coverage for the same is not a very tedious task but it may assume complicated dimensions if voices are raised against the same, legally, politically and socially. Also, such exercises do not hold any guarantee to ensure the construction of the temple at the disputed site as early as possible. While demolishing the mosque took only a few hours, construction of even a small structure is not possible within a short period of time. While, it was not possible for police and other forces to control frenzied masses and prevent demolition of the mosque, a similar frenzy cannot construct even a proper wall. Besides, if and when, in violation of judicial dictates, some attempt is made to initiate any move towards construction, central government and other authorities may be viewed as being responsible to prevent it from happening. If they cease to, they may also be held responsible for not showing due respect to the judiciary and to the secular and democratic spirit of the Constitution.

Can the newly elected UP government be expected to take such a risk? And would it be permitted to do so by the central government? Chances are minimal. After all, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has his eyes set on returning to power in the next parliamentary polls. Besides, except for the saffron brigade members, not too many seem keen for the Ayodhya dispute to take an ugly communal turn. In fact, the majority don’t even seem too interested in the issue. Give a thought, how many really are seriously interested in the political hype raised about the Ayodhya dispute? Yes, certainly the issue has gained substantial media coverage in recent days. In this context, appreciation shown for apex court’s stand on the issue cannot be ignored. Perhaps, members of the Sangh Parivar and those associated with them were quite stunned at the positive reaction shown by people as well as media towards this stand of the apex court. This probably prompted them to display their attitude towards the same issue.

At this stage, it may be viewed as nothing else but a drama enacted to make noise about their stand towards the Ayodhya dispute. It has at most gained a few extremist elements some media coverage and has also raised questions about secular credentials of the UP government!

MG comment: The criminals who demolished Babri Masjid in December 1992 have extracted every possible benefit from their crime. Looking at the history of Gujarat pogroms and fake encounters, there is no hope that the criminals will be brought to justice in this world. Then why this sudden decision at the behest of CBI which is a handmaiden of the PMO? They are hitting many targets with one stone: Show the world and the country that they believe in rule of law; throw the old guard out of their way for ever; and keep Hindutva pot boiling right up to 2019 (daily court hearing will ensure this). It is a sure shot for continued polarisation leading to re-election in 2019 (Zafarul-Islam Khan)

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