By Zulafqar Ahmed Tantray
The demolition of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992 by a mob is considered as black day. After the demolition period, no election has gone in India that has passed without reference to the construction of the Ram Mandir at the disputed site. Leaders of the BJP party have been rhetorically polarizing the people in India for the purpose of vote bank politics. In the 2010 Allahabad High court verdict, the court declared that the disputed land would be equally portioned among the three parties, the Sunni Wakf Board, The Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla. This decision to portion out the land to three different groups witnessed the gradual and substantial decline of Muslim faith in the Indian Judiciary. After the 2012 UP Assembly elections post-poll survey, it has been found that less than one third of Hindus and Muslims demanded only a temple and Mosque at the disputed site respectively. But, in a 2016 survey there has been a sizeable increase in the percentage of Hindus (49%) who have said that only a temple should be built at the disputed site. Whereas only (28%) Muslims have said that only a mosque should be constructed at the disputed site.
In the earlier surveys conducted by LSDS, the opinion of the Muslim community regarding construction of the mosque only was almost equal to that of the Hindu community. This declining percentage of Muslim community after 2016 does not mean that their faith in Indian secularism has changed and that they have become more secular but it clearly shows that they have lost faith on the whole political setup of India , in general, and the judiciary, in particular. The BJP minister Uma Bharti said that “she is ready to be hanged for building Ram Temple at the precise spot where the Babri Mosque stood”. Not only Uma Bharthi but recently, the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said that “only a temple will be built in the disputed site”; he further added “it is not a populist declaration but a matter of our faith. It will not be changed.”
Bhagwat’s remarks are seen as a rebuke to the Sri Sri Ravi Shankar who has appointed himself as a mediator between Hindu-Muslim groups. The BJP ministers not stopped here they even have said that Supreme Court can’t pronounce judgment on the issue because this was matter of their faith. Ostensibly, this is sheer contempt of court. It was the same BJP which celebrated the recent judgments of the Supreme Court on Triple Divorce, Section 377 and many more. These statements suggest that the RSS and the BJP government are committed to the construction of Ram Temple at the disputed site. It may be argued that it is now quite easy for them ‘to construct a temple’ at the said site keeping in mind that both at New Delhi as well as in the state of UP, the BJP is in power. Although, BJP has been misusing the sentiments of the people and exploiting their faith before every election, the party has also been continuously using appeasement politics for electoral purpose. It may be pronounced that they will not construct a temple at the disputed site because this issue has assisted BJP to polarise people for electoral purpose. Not only leaders of the Right wing but even leaders of so called secular parties like AAP have made controversial statements. Recently education minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia said that on the disputed site a university should be built instead of Temple or Mosque. If this happen then it would be a sheer injustice to Muslim community because the Apex Court of India had not allowed the charged mob to demolish Babri Mosque. The Supreme Court of India has said several times that Babri Mosque demolition is a ‘National crime’ that has shaken social fabric of the society. In this milieu, it would be a challenging job for the Supreme Court to give a balanced decision for both Hindu and Muslim community to keep the social fabric of the communities unharmed as well as to restore lost faith of Muslim community
The author is a Doctoral Fellow at the Department of Political Science , Aligarh Muslim University. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org