(This is Part-II of a series of commentary on the Babri demolition verdict of 30 September 2020. The Quint has invited experts to weigh in on the matter. Part-I can be accessed here.)
Truth has emerged victorious today. The only “conspiracy” in the Babri Masjid demolition conspiracy case was a political conspiracy. The demolition of Babri was not a planned act. Remember the reaction of Mr Advani to the event. He was dismayed and said, “My political movement is now wrecked”. The demolition was the symbol of the politics which was being practised in India. The politics of minority appeasement and pseudo-secularism.
In life, at times, events overtake people. This was not for the first time that a large congregation had gathered at the Ayodhya mosque. It’s because a certain aggression in people – who were trying to ‘protect’ the mosque – provoked a section of people, the latter went ahead and demolished it. But to claim this as a pre-planned conspiracy was preposterous.
This was done at the political messaging of the so-called secular party to appease the hurt psyche of the Muslim community. There is no truth to the claim that a conspiracy led to the demolition of the mosque.
The Role of Advani, and Other BJP/RSS Leaders
Mr Advani started his Rath Yatra on 25 September 1990 and on 23 October he was arrested. At that time nobody could go to the mosque because of the crackdown by Mulayam Singh Yadav. He had said, “Koi parinda bhi yahan par nahi mar sakta”. Kothari brothers were killed by the police in their attempt to do kar seva. This caused great heartburn. But even then there was no violence.
In February 2002, a VHP call brought lakhs of kar sevaks to the Ayodhya site. They went back after getting assurance that the government had already acquired land for the construction of the temple. Although they expressed their dissatisfaction at the delay in getting the construction of the temple started, they did not indulge in any violent activity. In fact, while returning, their train was set to fire in Gujarat, which led to communal riots in the state.
When the Rath Yatra took place in 1990, there were two agendas that Mr Advani propagated. The first one was of exposing pseudo-secularism. He said what was being played in the name of secularism was actually minority politics because minorities are a vote bank. And this practice was at the cost of the interests of the majority population.
The BJP stands for justice for all and appeasement to none. That was the guiding principle behind the party’s movement for Ram Mandir which ultimately got vindicated when the SC ruled in the favour of Hindus.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee and UP Government
The Kalyan Singh-led government had made all the arrangements to ensure orderly conduct. But when the atmosphere got so charged, then it was a judgment call – whether to allow the police to open fire and cause bloodshed or go with the flow and see what happens.
Mr Kalyan Singh took a call on not going with bloodshed. And, he pleaded guilty later. When he was hauled up for contempt of court by the Supreme Court, he pleaded guilty and accepted whatever punishment the court decided. He was imprisoned.
How do we read the statement made by former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, “Zameen ko samtal karna hoga”?
A statement in isolation can be interpreted in many ways. But when you locate it in the context of the speech itself, the meaning becomes clear. He never said that the mosque needed to be demolished. He only said that the appeasement policy had to be stopped. At the time of the demolition, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was not even there at the site.
To draw an analogy and to draw a meaning out of that statement would have meant charging Mr Vajpayee for hatching a conspiracy. He never was.
There is very little material to prove that the act of demolition was a premeditated act; it was an event that took place then and there.
Who Demolished Babri Masjid?
There were two aspects to this demolition. One was the act of demolition itself and the other was the conspiracy to demolish the mosque. The parties that were in power at the Centre at that time tried to implicate the BJP in the conspiracy to demolish the mosque, while we had nothing to do with it.
The BJP came to power only in 1998. Before that it was a Congress government and Congress-supported government. They should have investigated and prosecuted those who demolished the mosque.
Who were behind the demolition of the Babri Masjid, should have been investigated by CBI and other investigative agencies. It is for the Congress and their allies to answer as to why they did not identify the culprits.
None of the 32 people acquitted today were ever charged for going up and demolishing the structure. This conspiracy case was a mischievous act of the government of the day at that time. For face-saving and to cater to the Muslim vote bank, they floated a conspiracy theory that now stands demolished.
Can It Be Read in Tandem with 2019 Ayodhya Verdict?
The Ayodhya land dispute verdict of 2019 and this one cannot be read in tandem. The reason for the acceleration in the proceedings of this case is the fact that there has been a decision on fast-tracking judgments involving MPs and MLAs. The Supreme Court kept that in mind in instructing about fast tracking this particular case and that’s why the judgment has come now.
The 2019 SC judgment established the bonafide of the Hindu claim and the perverseness of the vote-bank politics which was being practised in denying that claim. It was, in a way, a slap on the faces of all the so-called secular parties.
More Conspiracies, More Agendas?
It is what you say and what you do that is used for evaluation of guilt or innocence. None of the speeches that were recorded in those times have anything like, “Go and demolish Babri Masjid”. Did Advani say it? Did Uma Bharti say something like this? Or even Champat Rai? The answer is, no. None of them said it.
Babri Masjid demolition was not a premeditated act unlike Delhi riots.
There is enough evidence which has been produced to show how the riots were engineered. Evaluation of guilt is on the basis of the criminality of facts presented.
There are fringe elements all over, and some are raising slogans for Kashi and Mathura. Ayodhya was a movement that the BJP had committed itself to. It was not a clandestine movement involving the BJP. Through the Palampur Resolution, the BJP committed itself to the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya and we pursued a political belief.
The BJP and the RSS will have to commit themselves to any agenda to make it theirs, otherwise it’s just a small bunch of people making demands. The Palampur Resolution has been accomplished. Our agenda was only about the Ram Janmabhoomi and it is over. As of now, the BJP is not committing to anything else.
(Sudhanshu Mittal is a BJP leader. He serves as Vice President Indian Olympic Association, President Kho-Kho Federation of India. He has written a book titled ‘RSS:Building India Through Sewa’. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)