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Justice on Babri: Too Little, Too Late


The Hindustan Times, Jun. 20, 2003

It took ten years for our law-enforcing agencies to frame charges for the heinous crime of destroying a place of worship. The delay itself should be cause for serious concern to honest citizens of our country. Later, newspapers carried pictures of Uma Bharati embracing Murli Manohar Joshi to share her joy at seeing the Babri masjid reduced to a rubble and interviews with Bal Thackeray who boasted that his Sainiks [soldiers] had played a decisive role in the demolition.

Among those charge-sheeted is our deputy prime minister L.K. Advani. He was the prime mover of the 'Ayodhya movement.' If he had not organised the rath yatra [chariot journey] from Somnath to Ayodhya, none of this tragic drama would have been enacted. In normal circumstances, charge-sheeted men and women would have resigned their ministerial posts till the court trying them had delivered its judgment. There is no likelihood of this happening as the accused happen to be pillars of the establishment. Far from accepting moral responsibility for the crime committed, they are proud of having righted a historical wrong.

If it took ten years to frame charges with bail and exemption from personal appearance granted to the accused, how long will it take for the case to be concluded and judgment pronounced? Perhaps another 10 or 20 years, by which time the majority of the accused will have departed from the earth. They will only be answerable for their conduct in the court of God in whom they profess to believe. The earthly verdict will be only of academic interest. Saffronites try to downplay the Ayodhya tragedy as of little importance. They have got it wrong. It not only blackened our faces in the eyes of the Muslim world, it also put us on par with vandals like Mahmud Ghazni. The only difference is that while Ghazni destroyed our temples in medieval ages, we destroyed the Babri masjid only ten years ago.