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Babri Masjid demolition - a blot on Indian democracy?
Thursday marks the 20th anniversary of the demolition of the historic Mughal-era Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh by the Karsevaks. The day, undoubtedly, is one of the saddest and the darkest days in the post-independence India, which not only flared up communal tensions but also created a divide, willy-nilly.

WHILE THE the right-wing political groups and organisations—which supported the demolition of the 16th century structure and justify it even today—maintain that the mosque was demolished from the spot because it actually happens to be the birth place of Ram, Muslims saw it as an open attack on the place of their worship by the trident-wielding frenzied mobs, mostly the VHP and RSS men.

The event created communal divide, and the tensions and riots that ensued as a consequence across several states, cities and towns across India makes one rethink that was the demolition avoidable Could there have been a better alternative where in the Muslims could have been taken on board, as is being even stated today by the people like Janata Party of India president Subramanian Swami?

Swami wrote in an opinion piece, which appeared in a national daily a few days back: “Had the (Chandrashekhar) government (of which Swami was a part of) lasted for a year more, I am confident we would have amicably liberated the Ram Janmabhoomi for building a befitting Ram temple, and with the consent of the Muslim community, even though the government was in a minority in Parliament.”

He says VHP and the BJP leaders whom he met in the capacity of a senior minister in the Chandrashekhar cabinet had readily agreed to call off the nation-wide stir, which they had threatened to launch for campaigning for building the Ram temple in place of the Babri Masjid.

Notwithstanding the discourse, whether it could have been avoided or if there would have been any other alternative (where Muslims could have been consulted and an a solution found amicably), the sad reality is that the event took place and put a question mark on the secular-liberal credentials of democratic India.

It went down into history that the Masjid was vandalised by BJP and RSS men, and that the weeks and months that followed this fateful day were marked by violence resulting in the killing of nearly 1500 people (most of them Muslims) and injuring many more.

The magnitude of the event and its ramifications—political and otherwise—were immense, even as it saw BJP coming to the power in the years that followed. It was for the first time that the votes were divided on the communal lines.

Two decades after the demolition episode, the temple issue may apparently have lost its relevance today, but the fact remains that justice has eluded hundreds of people who were killed and injured in its aftermath.

Perhaps India is the only country where justice delayed is not considered justice delayed, owing to the fact that the country's judicial system is slow and is always faced with a deluge of backlogged cases. And Babri Masjid demolition case was not an exception either. The case has been going on for decades now and the matter is now with the country's apex court.

Earlier, Allahabad High Court in the year 2010 had divided the land into three parts - each part going to Ramalala, Nirmohi Akhara and Sunni Wakf Board - the three appellants in the case. Even though it has been reported worldwide how idols were placed in the central dome of the mosque by miscreants, in connivance with top district administration officials (some of them later became heads of right wing parties), in the dead of the night, still Hindus were made to believe that it was a miracle.

While some call the demolition of mosque a blot on Indian democracy, but for Muslims razing down of their religious structure was an attack on their religious freedom in a country which claimed to hold high the values of secularism. And ironically the people who engineered the demolition, instead of being prosecuted, are sitting in the country's Parliament.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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