Historic scar: Babri demolition accused exonerated
Sir — The judicial exoneration of all the 32 surviving accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case does not seem to correspond with the actual events of December 6, 1992 in Ayodhya (“Cleared”, Oct 1). The mosque was demolished in broad daylight. The absence of conviction has wounded India’s soul and marked its retreat from secularism. The court reportedly even recorded its appreciation of some of the accused for allegedly trying to prevent the frenzied mob from pulling the mosque down.
One cannot help but wonder that if the place of worship of any other faith were razed in a similar fashion, would the instigators and perpetrators have got off scot-free owing to ‘lack of evidence’? Hindutva, or the politicization of Hinduism, aims to assert the predominance of one religion over others on the basis of numerical strength. By dividing countrymen on the basis of faith, it has made the idea of religious tolerance — for which India has been universally famed — a casualty. This has changed the political climate of the country beyond recognition.
Yet, for all its overarching appeal, Hindutva cannot be relied on to bring about any improvement in the material circumstances of the impoverished multitudes. The only hope for the nation lies in the fact that many Indians are still secular in their mindset and put humanity above religion: their collective moral strength could see us through this difficult phase of history and ensure that we all live together in harmony. It is now the duty of every citizen to promote the cause of religious unity.
G. David Milton,
Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu
Sir — Nearly three decades after the Babri Masjid was brought down, India seems to be no closer to knowing who were actually responsible for the disgraceful act. It has only been said that it was some “anti-social elements” who climbed upon the dome of the mosque that day. Yet, the rath yatra led by L.K. Advani that culminated at Ayodhya on December 6, 1992 with thousands of kar sevaks assembled there is common knowledge, making it difficult to believe that the demolition was not pre-planned.
In the months that followed, the incident sparked communal violence in Uttar Pradesh and other parts of the country, leading to around 2,000 people getting killed. It changed the course of India’s politics, paving the way for the rise of the right wing. The verdict of September 30 is therefore potentially provocative. It must be ensured that it does not stoke the already-simmering feeling of discontent among the minority communities.
Sir — The lukewarm reaction of the political class to the verdict in the Babri Masjid demolition case is along expected lines. Given that the demolition of the mosque involves the religious sentiments of the majority community, most of the main political parties have been cautious about their response. But prominent Muslim and Left leaders, especially from South India, came down heavily on the judgment. The president of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, Asaduddin Owaisi, reportedly said the verdict was meant to satisfy Hindutvavadis.
The verdict was pronounced after a series of delays — it has been 28 years since the incident. Given that most cases get entangled in court procedures, such delays have become commonplace. But this case was not an ordinary one. Yet, successive governments were uninterested in resolving it. This reveals their placation of the followers of Hindutva; all political parties are concerned more with electoral gains than moral principles. As the construction of the Ram Mandir is underway, the demolition of the Babri Masjid continues to fester. Truth and justice remain buried deep under the debris of the edifice as communalism rages on .
Play by the rules
Sir — The former Argentine footballer, Diego Maradona, often amuses his fans with his antics. However, last week, things took a serious turn when some spectators and journalists reportedly made fun of his choice of personal protective equipment at a match — they compared him to the animated character, Buzz Lightyear, as he sported a domed visor. Later, Maradona highlighted the importance of using proper PPE during the pandemic. Indeed, when millions are dying of Covid-19, tabloids and magazines would do well to encourage the use of PPE instead of ridiculing those who follow the rules.