Special Reports

Dharnas and demos on Babri martyrdom day

New Delhi: With fresh focus on the Babri Masjid issue in the wake of the Liberhan Commission's findings, Muslims and secular forces across the country raised the Babri issue on the 17th demolition anniversary on 6 December, while communal and fascist forces celeberated it as a bravery day. While the VHP observed the day as "Shourya Diwas" (valour day), Samajwadi Party marked it as "Kala Diwas" (black day). RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said that there was no question of the Sangh regretting the demolition of Babri Masjid. He maintained that RSS' full support to the Ram temple movement will continue.

Security was beefed up both by the central and state governments while Ayodhya-Faizabad area was converted into a virtual fortress. In Ayodhya, besides central forces, 500 personnel of PAC, 200 jawans of Rapid Action Force, three bomb detecting squads and anti-sabotage teams were deployed, officials said. CCTV cameras were in operation at the disputed site with the authorities banned public gatherings and security forces kept a close vigil on the Saryu river.


In Delhi, on the eve of the demolition anniversary a silent 'Candle March' was organized at Jantar Mantar press for action on Liberhan Report. Leaders of Dalit, Sikh, Christian and Muslim communities as well as human rights organizations took part in the march which culminated at the Parliament Street.  In a joint statement, leaders of  Dr B. R. Ambedkar Sewa Dal, All India New Democracy, Inssan Dost Council, Samajik Nayay Morcha, SACM, Delhi Catholic Church, Haryana Gurudwara Sikh Committee, Peoples Movement of India, Budh Upsak Sangh, All India Jamaate Saifia, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Jamiat Ahle Hadith, Action AID, Justice Party and Milli Council said that the government's action taken report on the Liberhan report "displays lack of political will to bring those responsible to justice. The nation wants to know what action the Central Government is going to take. In the past too, those indicted by different commissions for communal riots have gone scot-free as in the case of Sri Krishna Commission Report." The statement went on to say that "it is high time that charges should be filed and cases registered against them. The Central Government must act against the Sangh Parivar organizations and check its accounts being used for nefarious designs. As is well known, there have been gang rapes and loss of innocent lives, and private and public properties in the naked drama of communal elements at different places, including Surat. Criminal cases must be initiated against these elements, and if already initiated, they must be expedited and those found guilty must be punished. Stern action must be taken against the organizations found involved in the demolition of Babri Masjid by the Liberhan Commission. The real test of the UPA Government's sincerity would be if it brings about a law providing for exemplary punishment for all those who disturb communal harmony for gaining power."


Muslim leaders demanded stern action against those named in the Liberhan Commission report besides implementation of the report of the Srikrishna Commission set up following the 1992-'93 riots in Mumbai. "Stern action should be taken against those who have been named by the Liberhan Commission," said Congress spokesperson and former minister Husain Dalwai on the eve of the Babri demolition anniversary. Samajwadi Party (SP) MLA Abu Asim Azmi termed the statements of the government regarding the Liberhan and Srikrishna Commission reports as an "eye wash" and said justice needed to delivered speedily. "What action has been taken after it?" questioned Azmi, pointing to the report of the commission set up under Justice Manmohan Singh Liberhan submitting its report 17 years after it had been set up. He also sought that the masjid be rebuilt at the same spot. Accusing the government of lacking "will power," Azmi, said the masterminds behind the demolition needed to be punished.

Jantar Mantar, Delhi

Popular Front of India (PFI) and its allied outfits organized dharnas at various places including Manipur and Goa.  PFI general secretary Mr. K.M Shareef said speaking at the dharna at Delhi' Jantar Mantar that the government did not give any proper respect and consideration to the Liberhan Commission report. The Government let the report to leak and reach in the hands of media, before tabling it in Parliament. He said the Action Taken Report (ATR) does not mention anything about legal action against the culprits, though the incident threw the country in to waves of hatred, intolerance, communalism and terrorism. He appealed to all secular and progressive organization, to join hands together against the hypocrisy of ruling class. The dharna was attended by Social Democratic party of India's General Secretary A. Sayeed, Professors G.N Sai Baba and Shamsul Islam of Delhi University among others. PFI general secretary A. Sayeed who led the national protest campaign demanded from the central government to punish the culprits responsible for the demolition of Babri Masjid and the countrywide riots that followed.


In Lucknow, the All India Babri Masjid Action Committee organised special prayers for peace and harmony while in Hyderabad, Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee (CLMC) organised a day-long dharna at Bagh Lingam Pally in Hyderabad. It demanded the reconstruction of Babri Masjid "at the same site", said informed CLMC general secretary Lateef Mohd Khan.


In Jaipur, Muslim organisations held a joint dharna at Muslim Musafirkhana under the banner of Rajasthan Muslim Forum. The demo asked the government to expedite the settlement of the legal case; punish those held responsible by Liberhan Commission; condemned the clean chit given by Liberhan to the then prime minister Narasimha Rao; arrest those who are publicly saying that the demolition was an act of bravery. The demo announced that the efforts to reclaim the Babri masjid will continue through legal and constitutional means.

Mushawarat office, Delhi

At the All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat a brain-storming session was held in the afternoon of 6 December where leaders of leading Muslim organizations and prominent individuals discussed the issue in the light of the Liberhan report and the attitudes of the government and various political parties. The participants stressed that the Muslim community in no way should voluntarily give away its right to the Babri Masjid site and that the legal case in the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court should be vigorously fought. Later a statement was issued by the organizers which included All India Muslim Personal Law Board Committee on Babri  Masjid (IMPLB-CBM) and Babri Masjid Movement Coordination Committee (BMMCC)  (see text on page 3).

Indian Muslim organizations abroad like Council of Indian Muslims UK  in UK and Association Of Indian Muslims Of America and Indian Muslim Council-USA in the US issued statements on the occasion and the IMC-USA launched a dedicated website on the issue which may be accessed at www.BabriMasjid.Info.

Zafarul-Islam Khan

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 December 2009 on page no. 17

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