On 6 December 1992, a mob of Hindu militants tore down the 16th Century Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, north India, sparking nationwide communal riots in which nearly 2,000 people were killed.
DSU-Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, 7 December 2012
“Rebuilding Babri Masjid is the only way to ensure justice! Smash the forces of communal fascism and its active patrons!!”
It’s been twenty years since Babri Masjid was razed to the ground by a huge frenzied mob of religious fanatics. The history of the Babri masjid right since the transfer of power clearly lays bare the entrenched communal nature of the Indian state and all its machinery. The Babri Masjid was a 400 year old historical structure in which prayers had been offered till 1949 until an idol of Ram was surreptitiously smuggled into the mosque on the night of December 22, 1949. A mob forced itself inside the mosque to perform a puja. They were driven out of the mosque but it was locked and namaaz remained forbidden in the mosque ever since. It was re-opened in 1986 by Rajiv Gandhi led Congress government which ordered the opening of the mosque for puja. In 1992 the Masjid was demolished by a fanatic mob with the complete protection of all the organs of the state machinery. The murderous paraphernalia that preceded the demolition with Advani touring the country on the Rathyatra, with extremely belligerent speeches led to the massacre of thousands of Muslims.
1992 Guardian coverage of the Babri mosque attack
Justice for this atrocious event has been consciously denied since then and blatantly so. The leaders who orchestrated the attack, or the lumpens behind the massacres. were never booked or punished. The recommendations of the Liberahan Commission, created as a face-saving show of ‘enquiry’ that indicted the Sangh leaders like Vajpayee or Advani were shelved. Same happened to the Sri Krishna Committee Report that was constituted to probe into the horrific Mumbai riots that killed more than 900 Muslims. The Sri Krishna Committee Report in no uncertain terms clearly indicted Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, BJP leader Gopi Nath Munde and most importantly also the active involvement of police. It implicated 31 police officers including 15 high ranking officers, specially the Joint Police Commissioner of Mumbai R.D. Tyagi who was charged with the murder of 9 Muslim boys in the notorious and bone-chilling “Suleiman Usman bakery operation”. But all these criminals were either let off by various law courts or never arrested. Justice evades the victims of the riots and the state machinery mocks at the carnage and the massacres by their sheer inaction. Significantly, the historic Babri Masjid was never re-built. No parliamentary party, including the parliamentary pseudo-left, even talks about re-building this historic structure which was demolished as a conscious act by the hindu majoritarian Indian state in order to assert its communal fascist agenda! Various legal suits filed on the title deed of the land remained in the court for decades till the Allahabad High court in 2010 gave a rabidly communal verdict, where acknowledging the mythical ‘faith’ of the hindu fascists, it championed their agenda by dividing the land that belongs only to the Masjid, into three parts giving one part each to the Waqf board of the mosque, the claimants for Ram mandir and Nirmohi Akhara, another hindu sect.
Why is the rebuilding of the Babri masjid the only way to ensure justice?
The Babri Masjid was demolished as a planned attack by the communal fascists and the question of justice can be addressed when, along with punishing the culprits behind the demolition and subsequent pogrom, the historical place of worship is re-built at the same spot. Many self proclaimed secularists and the pseudo-left have always come up with the problematic “compromise” solutions like building a hospital or some non-religious structure. The right to a place of worship is a fundamental right of any community, and one cannot wish it away through such a blinkered understanding of ‘secularism’. The demolition of the Babri Masjid was a calculated assault
by the Hindu fascist state and its cohorts to reinforce its majoritarian prejudice. Brahminism/ feudalism/ hindutva fascism has always thrived with active state patronage. Yielding to any other option will only justify their majoritarian assault. The same forces then will go on a further rampage (remember their slogan Kashi Mathura Baki Hai) demolishing mosques after mosques. Justice therefore can only be sought once the mosque is re-built.
The locks of Babri Masjid were also broken to do puja and thereby flaring a communal frenzy at the same when the Indian ruling classes were planning for an all out capitulation to imperialism, in the form of Liberalisation-Privatisation-Globalisation. The impending pauperisation of the masses and the discontent due to the evident assault of the imperialist market were diverted by the ruling classes to create a debate around this particular place of worship and create a communal polarity in the nation. No, the demolition of Babri Masjid and “reclaiming” of ramjanmabhoomi did not improve the material conditions of the millions of ‘hindu’ impoverished masses. It could not produce any magic for the ‘hindu’ farmers who were forced to commit suicide, ‘hindu’ landless dalits did not escalate in their levels of social dignity or get land rights, it did not give any jobs to the ‘hindu’ retrenched mill workers or liberate the ‘hindu’ women from the shackles of patriarchy. It only made another rabid statement on behalf of the ruling classes to the Muslim minorities and by extension to all oppressed sections, the dalits, the adivasis, the women, the other religious minorities of the country, about the entrenched brahminical hindu feudal character of the Indian state. That judiciary, parliament, media all act in tandem to safeguard the interests of the entrenched feudal forces and their imperialist masters.
The message that the Indian state delivered to the Muslims of this country through the Babri demolition, has been repeatedly delivered to them for the past 65 years in extremely brutal ways. Now as part of the global ‘war on terror’ the muslims, who are one of the most oppressed and persecuted minority in India, have only two identities for all parliamentary political parties: they are either vote-bank or terrorists. The same parliamentary forces who were earlier complicit in the Babri Masjid demolition and are now behind the persecution and witch-hunt of Muslims are united in their actions to let the MNCs loot the country’s natural resources, are complacent in implementing FDI in multi-brand retail sector thereby pauperising millions of small traders, have declared a brutal war on the adivasis and are also behind continuous massacre and assaults on dalits. The assault of the Indian state is on all the oppressed sections and only a united and resolute struggle of all these masses to overhaul this brahmanical hindu feudal structure of the Indian state, and revolutionize the present oppressive society can bring justice and equality to all the oppressed masses.