Abdul Bari Masoud | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI — Ahead of the Babri Masjid judgement, the ruling BJP and its ideological mentor RSS stepped up their Muslim outreach programme, but community members see a plot behind these flurry of activities.
Muslim activists, journalists and leaders feel that, by asking only Muslims to maintain peace and calm, these forces want either to create panic among the community or pave the way for a delivery of justice by invoking the old ploy of “collective conscience” in the Babri Masjid case too.
They also noted that the RSS-BJP did not consult the community leaders when it arbitrarily enacted law against triple-talaq. Now, the RSS has pressed into service some ‘Muslim’ faces from its stock to lure social, religious and political leaders from the community as also Urdu editors for this purpose. Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi first invited Muslim political and religious “leaders” for a meet at his residence. Many of them did not know that top RSS leaders would be present at the meeting.
The second meeting was held by Sirajuddin Qureshi, a well-known BJP-RSS sympathiser and an apologist, at the India Islamic Culture Center. An Urdu editor told Caravan Daily: “I got a call from Siraj sb asking me to join lunch with him at the IICC”. However, he did not utter a word about the meeting with the RSS leaders. He also rued that many editors who attended the meeting did not apply their mind before filing the story. He pointed out that the ruling party did not deem it fit to consult the community on the TT bill as it directly concerned them.
Dr SQR Ilyas, who edits Afkar-e-Milli and heads the Muslim Personal Law Board’s Babri Masjid Committee, said the media (both electronic and print) have given disproportionate publicity to the meetings convened by Qureshi and Naqvi so as to create a favorable environment for building a Ram Mandir. As the Babri Masjid case is very strong and the so-called the mediation efforts miserably failed to force the community surrender the Babri Mosque, now these tactics are being employed, he said.
“This seems to be an attempt to exert psychological pressure on the Supreme Court bench that Muslims are willingly declaring that they will accept the verdict even if it comes against them,” he told Caravan Daily.
Seeing a clear plot in action, Dr Ilyas said that the communal forces hoped that, if the court could deliver a judgement in the past on the basis of “collective conscience” to convict Afzal Guru, then it could also apply the same “formula” here — that it is the faith of millions of Hindus that needs to be taken into consideration. “Why only Muslims are being asked to maintain peace, and not the militant and extremist Hindu organisations,” he asked.
Agreeing with this view, advocate Sharafuddin Ahmed of the Allahabad High Court said, “These may be attempts to create a fear-psychosis in the ranks of the community. It is unfortunate that attempts are being made to exert pressure on the judicial system through extra-judicial powers such as the media and politicians.” He said these meetings were one-sided and smacked of a conspiracy. He also slammed IICC president Qureshi for turning the centre into a place for RSS activities and for “apologist and opportunist Muslims who are playing into the hands of communal and fascist forces.” .
Dr T Rehamni also raised his suspicions about these “gestures’ from the RSS leaders. He felt they might actually be hatching a conspiracy to mar peace after the verdict. Young journalist Badar Shahnawaz said it was surprising that most of the Muslim leaders and intellectuals were terrified and creating panic in the community by their actions.
“I do not find any fear among ordinary Muslims but our leaders seem to be under a state of fear.” Many Urdu journalists said it was shameful to sit with someone who was present when Babri Masjid was razed.