Commemoration of 6th December

Sitaram Yechury

On every 6th of December, since 1992, the country hangs its head in shame recollecting the vandalism and de¬struction of the Babri Masjid. The one point that this memory highlights is the disastrous consequences of having a rabidly communal outfit assume the reins of State power. It is inconceivable that the Babri Masjid could have been destroyed the way it was without the BJP government in UP. The complicity and the patronage provided by the government not only allowed but aided the gravest assault on India’s secular democratic foun¬dations.

Nothing illustrates this fact more than the verdict of the designated court who chargesheeted the accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case. Para 52 of the hon’ble Court’s order of 9th September, 1997 states:

“52. According to above mentioned cases decided by hon’ble Supreme Court although Sh. Kalyan Singh, accused Sh. RN Srivastava and Sh. D B Rai were not present on the spot yet they are held prima facie guilty of offence u/s 120-B of Indian Penal Code because they are civil servants. Prime facie it will be taken as their criminal act. Sh. Kalyan Singh had assured the National integra¬tion council that the disputed structure will not be allowed to be demolished and the hon’ble Supreme Court had allowed only symbolic Kar Sewa. Sh. Kalyan Singh had also said that he will fully protect the structure of Ram Janam Bhoomi/Babri Masjid and that it will not be demolished. But he acted contrary to his assurance. Sh. Kalyan Singh did not order for the use of central force. From all this prima facie it seems that he was a party to the criminal conspiracy.”

Further it states:

“54. On 6.12.92 a suicide squad of selected trained workers broke the security cordons and vandalized the structure, damaged the police implements wireless set detector, telphone, dragon light and took away inscrip¬tion plate of Mir Baqi with them. Part of inscription plate of Mir Baqi was forcibly taken away by Sh. Pawan Kumar Pandey and his 20 accomplices, which is proved by witness PW-52 and Photograph D-6. Therefore the offence of dacoity is prima facie made out against the above named accused because they took away the inscription plate of Mir Baqi and other articles by injuring police force on the spot and by terracing them as is proved by PW-8 Khem Singh Kharak Magistrate on Duty and other witnesses. Prosecution has also argued that aforesaid dacoity is in the chain of same sequences which is a part of conspiracy of demolition of disputed structure and the other offences committed, apart from demolition of disputed structure, are also acts of the same se¬quence. In such a situation a joint trial of offences committee in the chain of the same sequence, as men¬tioned in chargesheet is legal and justified.”

“58. In the present case keeping in view the criminal conspiracy which was in respect of demolition of struc¬ture of Ram Janam Bhoomi/Babri Masjid anything done in that respect would be considered in the same sequence. Section 395 of Indian Penal Code is also concerned with the conspiracy to demolish Babri Masjid. This act was an act in the same sequence under section 395 and in this respect PW-37 Sanjay Khera, PW-112 Mohan Sahai, PW-16, Om Mehta, PW-42, Praveen Jain, have said so and the newspapers reporting .e. PW 384. Ram Chander Pradhan said that at about 1.30 p.m. when the Kar Sewaks failed to pull down the tomb from the above then Kar Sewaks started demolishing the wall of the tomb and Shri Vinay Katiyar, Shri Lal Krishan Advani, Shri Murli Manohar Joshi and Shri Ashok Singhal declared a number of times for the Kar Sewaks to climb down from the tomb because the tomb was to come down at any time. As per Ms. Ruchira Gupta, PW-145 Shri Advani declared that CRPF may arrive at any time. Therefore, all the people should raise barricade on the main roads so as to prevent CRPF from coming near the spot. Smt. Vijiaraje Scindia also asked kar sewaks to climbed down, tomb and when the tomb was being pull down the sweets were being distributed at the podium.

“59. From our description it is concluded that in the present case a criminal conspiracy to demolish the disputed structure of Ram Janam Bhoomi/Babri Masjid was hatched by the accused persons in the beginning of 1990 and was completed on 6.12.92. Sri Lal Krishan Advani and others hatched criminal conspiracies to demolish the disputed premises on different times at different places. Therefore, I find a prima facie case to charge S/Shri Bala Saheb Thakre, Shri Lal Krishan Advani, Shri Kalyan Singh, Shri Vinay Katiyar, ….” (the list con¬tinues with many people, including Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Sadhvi Ritambari etc.)

While this case continues to remain in the courts, it would be foolish to presume that the Saffron Brigade and its political front, the BJP, have learnt lessons and, hence, reformed. The communal riots that followed the demolition of the Babri Masjid brought home the truth in a chilling manner that these forces forsake elementary humanism at the alter of power. One can only recall Ravindranath Tagore who in an angry outburst at such bloodshed exclaimed: “Give me a voice of thunder/that I can hurl imprecations/at this gruesome cannibal whose hunger spares neither mother nor child”.

That the Saffron Brigade continues with its diabolic agenda has been more than amply proved during the last eight months of the BJP-led government at the Centre. The insidious manner in which the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Bajrang Dal and other saffron outfits have been spreading communal poison is there for all to see. The series of attacks on the minorities, with the Christians now being specifically targetted, has already led to murders, rapes and sacrilegious outrages against places of worship. The nebulous changes being made in the school curricula to re-write history along Hindu commu¬nal lines has already begun to poison the minds of our innocent children. The frenzied advocacy of saraswati vandana and vande mataram are designed to whip up commu¬nal passions. In the name of Indian culture and tradi¬tion, the attempt is to impose one particular aspect of our rich heritage, viz, the bramanical order. The effort is not merely the establishment of a rabidly intolerant `Hindu Rashtra’ but also the establishment of a bramanical tyranical order that thrives on inhu¬man caste exploitation. Thus, they seek to reverse not only the gains of a secular democratic republic but also, even the meagre gains and rights of the dalits and other oppressed castes in our society.

The so-called propaganda that the Hindu order is being threatened by conversions is contrary to facts. The regular census figures show no dramatic rise in the pro¬portion of minority population. For instance, in the 1961 census, the Muslims constituted 10.5 percent of the population. In 1971, it was 11.2 percent and in 1981, it was 11.4 percent. At this rate, it will take 3626 years for the Muslim population to become 50 percent of total Indian population! By this time, however, the Hindu population would have grown many more times than what it is today. Likewise, over these years, the Christian population remained around 2.5 percent of the total population.

Such facts, however, do not bother the Saffron Brigade. They forget that eventually Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar found the only way to escape the oppression of the bramanical caste order through conversion to Buddhism. It is this very oppressive order that the Saffron Bri¬gade today seeks to strengthen on the basis of what it calls “Indian culture and tradition”. The conversions that had taken place much earlier in history was, indeed, commented upon by no less a person than Swami Vivekananda. He said: “The Mohammedan conquest of India came as a salvation to the downtrodden, to the poor. That is why one fifth of our people have become Mohamme¬dans.” (Works, vol-3, p-294). (If this figure is true, then the proportion of Muslim population has actually declined. Even if partition is accounted for, then the proportion in India has not increased.)

That 6th December, 1992 has been consigned to history is yet another illusion. The Saffron Brigade continuously reminds us of its nefarious intentions. On 3rd December, 1998, it planned a “suicide squad” to `liberate’ an age-old Sufi centre of prominence and worship near Chikmaga¬lur in Karnataka. The scenic Baba Budangiri range of hills houses this place of worship since many centuries. According to history, many hundred years ago, a Sufi saint called Dada Khalandar made this place his home. Some 300 years back, one of his disciples, Baba Budan settled here. Hence, the name of the range of hills. (Incidentally, he is credited with having introduced coffee in the region.) Since mid-17 century, this place gained prominence.

Significantly, before the Saffron Brigade raked up a controversy, both Hindus and Muslims visited the site and offered prayers without any friction. Indeed, like it happens today in Ajmer and Haji Ali at Mumbai. The rituals are a unique combination of Hindu and Muslim practices. Curiously over the years, the same Dada Kha¬landar came to be referred to as Dattatreya Swami by the Hindus. The Sufi shrine itself is also called the Sri Sadguru Dattatreya Baba Budan Swami Peetha.

And, this synchretic ethos that truly represents the Indian culture and tradition is precisely the target of these communal bigots. In their lust for power, the Saffron Brigade leaves no stone unturned to spread deep the virus of strife and bloodshed. Thus, it is the Saffron Birgade that today seeks to destroy Indian cultural ethos, its sycretic tradition and history.

In the supreme interests of Bharat — ie, India — such a diabolic agenda needs to be foiled. Any remembrance of 6th December will have a meaning only if the resolve to checkmate and defeat these forces is strengthened. Ancient wisdom that has filtered down the centuries tells us that “for the evil to succeed, the good only has to be silent”. The time has come for all Indian patriots, to break this silence.