Congress leader P Chidambaram on Wednesday said that only because both the sides accepted the Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya, it became a right judgement and not the other way around.
After launching party colleague Salman Khurshid’s book “Sunrise over Ayodhya – Nationhood in our Times”, he termed the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992 as a “terrible wrong” that debased our Constitution.
Party colleague Digvijaya Singh said in the country’s history, vandalism and destruction of temples happened even before the advent of Islam, but an atmosphere has been created where it has been told that such acts came with Muslim rulers and that is why they are responsible for it.
Mr Singh also alleged that LK Advani’s “Rath Yatra” was not to unite society, but to divide it and wherever he went, he sowed the seeds of hatred and created that atmosphere of sectarianism in the country.
He further alleged that Veer Sarvarkar was not a religious man as he questioned the cow being called “mata” and also consumed beef.
Mr Chidambaram lamented that even after 75 years of independence one has to conclude that nobody demolished Babri Masjid as everyone who was accused in the case were acquitted within a year of the Supreme Court verdict.
“That story started in 1992 and came to a completely unexpected end on the 9th November 2019, exactly two years ago. The jurisprudential faces of this judgement is extremely narrow, it is a very thin ledge, but due to the passage of time what the author points out is all sides have accepted it.
“Because both sides have accepted it, it is become the right judgement, not the other way around. It’s not a right judgement, which both sides have accepted. Because both sides have accepted it, it has become the right judgement,” the former finance minister said.
Mr Chidambaram said Khurshid did not want to rock the boat or stir the hornet’s nest and he understood his reluctance to do so.
Quoting Mr Singh, Mr Chidambaram said he spoke about truth and reconciliation with emphasis on reconciliation. Nelson Mandela also promised truth and reconciliation, but first the truth must be told and then there can be reconciliation.
“The truth was that what happened on December 6, 1992 was a terrible wrong. It was an incident that debased our Constitution, that defied the Supreme Court and created, what appeared to be at that time, an unbridgable chasm between two communities. It was wrong, terribly wrong and I would say 100 times that it will always be a terrible wrong,” he said.
Mr Chidambaram lamented that everyday there are occurrences that empty a bit of the soul of our Constitution, yet no one in high authority is willing to stand up and speak for this grave debasement and denigration of our Constitution. He also lamented even while lynchings are happening in the country, no one in authority speaks against it.
The Congress leader said words and practices have acquired a new meaning today as whatever Gandhi ji thought was “Ram Rajya” is no longer the “Ram Rajya” as understood by many of fellow Indians.
He also said that what Panditji thought about secularism is certainly not the way secularism is understood by many millions of fellow citizens.
“Secularism has moved away from acceptance to tolerance and from tolerance to an uneasy co-existence. Secularism has moved away from community living to living apart, to living in ghettos. Secularism has moved away from having friends from all communities and all religions,” he said, adding that words have acquired a new meaning and unless we recognise what has happened to our country in the last 15-20 years, we would not be true to what we believe India should be.
“Today we live in a world where lynching is not condemned by anyone in authority, certainly not the prime minister and certainly not the Home minister,” Mr Chidambaram said.
Mr Singh said the Ram Janmabhoomi dispute was there since 1858 but the VHP, Bajrang Dal and the RSS never made it an issue.
It was after they were restricted to two seats in 1984 they decided to make it a national issue because Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Gandhian socialism had failed and they took to hardcore religious fundamentalism, he claimed.
“LK Advani’s Rath Yatra was not to unite society, but to divide it. Wherever he went, he sow the seeds of hatred. Advani’s rath yatra created that atmosphere of sectarianism in our country,” he said.
“”Hindutva has nothing to do with Hindu religion. Savarkar was not a religious man. He had even said why is the cow considered “maata” (mother) and had no problems in consuming beef. He brought in the “Hindutva” word to establish Hindu identity that caused confusion in people and that was propagated by the RSS,” he also said.
Besides its legal implications, Mr Singh said Mr Khurshid in this book has also talked about the implications of this on society and that path of reconciliation.