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Ninth anniversary and ‘inquiry’ goes on...
By Syed Ubaidur Rahman

The ninth anniversary of the demolition of ill fated Babri Masjid is round the corner. Nothing has changed since the demolition except the increasing belligerence of the people who defaced the Indian history with the worst crime. The controversy over who did it and how it was done and the snail pace of the inquiry and courts proceedings continue nonetheless. There seems to be no punishment for perpetrators of the crime in sight. They are increasingly becoming more and more vocal in constructing a new structure on the place where they demolished a historical mosque. 

And in the midst of all their daring and provocative pronouncements remains a government with its off and on policy on the issue. The prime minister once in a while announces that he is in contact with leaders of the aggrieved community. And then again there is lull, a long and well orchestrated. It happens only in our country. 

The Liberhan Commission is still, after eight long years of its creation, listening to the eyewitnesses and looking after evidences. Hordes of politicians, accused and police officials have appeared before the court of inquiry, but it seem to be heading nowhere. Instead, people claim that the Commission, instead of serving any purpose is giving a platform to the people accused in the crime a platform to glorify their misdeeds. They say that people like Giriraj Kishore, Lal Krishna Advani, Uma Bharati, Ashok Singhal and the likes are exploiting the commission in their repeated appearances before the commission and are trying to give new twists to the demolition angle. They point out that Sudarshan, the RSS chief made the absurd claim that the demolition was the work of Muslims themselves from the same platform. Others too have tried to give new twists to the crime. 

The Commission is struck in a dilemma of its own. And there seems to be no signs that it is going to wrap up its findings soon. And to top it all, there is no certainty that even if it completes its findings and indicts some people, the government will be willing to implement its report. We have been witness to a similar drama, a fallout of the Babri demolition-Mumbai riots. When Justice Krishna presented his reports on post-Babri Mumbai riots, it was not only the Shiv Sena-BJP government-indicted in the crime which refused to implement Sri Krishna report, but a secular Congress-NCP government also sleeps on the report without doing anything. It even failed to oppose former Police Commissioner Tayagis’ bail application when the court ordered his arrest. 

The VHP has again started its verbal campaign to begin construction of the temple at the site of the demolished Babri Masjid. It has already completed its preparations for construction of the temple. It has now announced its plan to deploy fifty million Karsevaks to begin the construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya on 12 March. Though there have been instances when it announced the plan to construct temple at the site and abandoned it, but now it seems unlikely that it will dare to abandon the plan as it completely coincides with the UP elections where the BJP is finding its situation precarious. Though the BJP has said repeatedly that the temple construction is not on its poll agenda, but it has been reported that it has been included in its agenda. The BJP sees no problem in going back on its words. It can deploy any tactics to save its face in UP.

OP Sharma, a senior Supreme Court lawyer says that though it is a fact that the VHP has abandoned its plan for constructing the temple several times in the past, but it never had so good a time as now. He adds that VHP has enormous influence on the government and it dictates whatever it wishes. He adds that as the UP polls are just a few weeks away, the BJP will try this vote catching slogan as it exploited in the past. He said that the VHP may begin construction not exactly at the same site in the beginning, but it plans to encompass the whole area at some later date. They have already tested the water by entering the prohibited area and by offering prayer there.

Sharma is among one of the few people who have relentlessly worked for the Babri Masjid issue. He recently filed a contempt of court case against those people who defied the Supreme Court order by entering the prohibited area. No one in the government uttered a word on this provocative defiance of the apex court order. The home minister went out of his way to defend VHP leaders like Giriraj Kishore, Ashok Singhal and the like, who breached the order. Sharma’s petition raises all the questions of defiance by the Sangh leaders and their cadres. He told this correspondent that he wants to ensure that those people who have no regards for law and break it so frequently should be punished severely. 

Sharma informed this correspondent that the apex court has already issued notices to government on the petition and result will soon come out in this petition. 

But everyone is not optimistic as he. There are people who believe that nothing is going to happen to such people. Maulana Obaidullah Khan Azmi, a Rajya Sabha member says that despite having enough evidence nothing has been done to people who spearheaded and got the Babri Masjid demolished under their own supervision. Instead of being in prison, several of the key accused are enjoying high position in central government. He was obviously referring to Advani, Joshi and Uma Bharati who hold key ministries at the centre. People are increasingly becoming disillusioned with the unending litigation on the issue. 

Saadatullah Husaini, SIO president says that people are running out of patience when they see that those criminals who destroyed the mosque and perpetrated serious crimes are enjoying government protection and those who just demonstrated against the crime are languishing in jails around the country. He says that quick resolution of the Babri Masjid issue is the urgent need of the hour. When told that this is also contributed by the somnolent and ignorant leadership of the Muslim community, he agreed and added that the leadership failed to do anything worthwhile on the issue.

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