Babri Mosque demolition was probably the worst act of political idealism in India’s secular history. It reflects the power games of and the irrational lengths the politicians can traverse to serve their agenda. Post the destruction of Babri by a mob of zealots on December 6, 1992, communal riots claimed more than 2000 lives in many major Indian cities including Mumbai, and Delhi.
On December 16 that year, the Liberhan Commission was set up to probe the circumstances that led to the demolition. Two people who were directly involved with Babri- but on the opposite ends- the firebrand leader of BJP, Vinay Katiyar (over phone) and Babri Masjid Action Committee President, Zafaryab Jilani conversed exclusively with Devika Chhibber of Zeenews.com, on several subjects ranging from the Hindutva to the role of Vajpayee and Narsimha Rao in the demolition act.
What do you think about the Liberhan Commission report disclosure?
Katiyar: Liberhan report is a novel authored by the Congress. The whole blame has been laid on the shoulders of the saffron party leaders. No mention of what the Congress PM was doing at that time has been detailed nor questioned. So it is a biased report with no actual revelation of the events or people involved in it.
Jilani: Whether the report has been leaked or not is not of any consequence. I have always wanted to see the actual culprits behind bars. The contents of the report are true otherwise why the government would have cleared it.
What about the role of Hindu parties, which they have been denying so far?
Katiyar: Hindu parties were never involved into the whole incident. I was involved and I am not at all apologetic for it. It was the happiest day of my life. It was not a Mosque but a disputed structure at Ayodhya which we knocked down. We still want a Ram temple in Ayodhya and there is no change in our stand.
Jilani: Hindu parties were of course involved. The report has itself indicted 58 people of which several belong to the saffron party. I don’t agree to Katiyar’s statement. People like Katiyar are totally irrelevant. They are the culprits who pulled-down our religious belonging and played with our sentiments. Justice is still awaited by our community and we won’t rest until they are punished.
Do you think it was pre-planned?
Katiyar: Not at all. It was just a wave of religious sentiments, which at that moment outdid our rational thoughts and acts respectively. I am not against Muslims. Even they are human beings. But Hindutva is my priority and in order to protect it I can go to any extent.
Jilani: I totally disagree with Katiyar here. The demolition act was an act of full fledged preparation. A lot of planning was involved in the demolition. It was pre-planned and taken off brick by brick. Although we have no evidence, I believe that even Narsimha Rao’s role was doubtful as he did nothing to prevent the act when he had the power to do so.
BJP is denying Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s involvement in demolition, your take on it?
Katiyar: Vajpayee ji was never involved in the whole thing. His status is very high in the party. Congress is unable to solve the existing problems in the country therefore they are distracting attention of the public through such reports. They have raised this issue to malign the BJP’s reputation.
Jilani: Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s name has never been mentioned anywhere in the report clearly. He was aware of the situation but his involvement is not evidenced. He is a senior leader and even if he is involved I am sure his name would never appear directly in the books.
What about Kalyan Singh’s hypocrite standing on Babri demolition?
Katiyar: Hypocrite is the right word for him....(he refuses to comment further)
Jilani: People like Kalyan Singh keep changing their stands. He was among those who were responsible for the destruction. He also apologized while teaming up with the SP but now his glorifying stance on the demolition can only mean that he want to be a part of BJP again.
What will be your strategy further?
Katiyar: BJP is working towards its strategy to provide a terror free government to the people with cheaper basic amenities. We also promise to build the Ram Mandir at any cost. BJP is suffering from internal crisis but we will be back in power soon.
Jilani: We are satisfied with the disclosure of the Liberhan report but we still have some demands, which we want the government to look into. First of all how the cases related to Babri will be expedited. Secondly, the report has indicted 58 people whereas CBI has marked 49 candidates so what about the missing ones. Thirdly, procedures of the cases tend to slow down with the transfer of the officers in command as they act according to the agenda of the party in power. So we will put impetus on the government to look into these matters.
Has India gone beyond Babri now; does rhetoric politics work no longer?
Katiyar: Religion can never be away from life. Babri Mosque was never there, it was always our temple and people’s sentiments are attached with it. So whenever we feel that any wrong is being committed against our community we will always act offensively. All those who do not support Babri Masjid demolition are supporters of Babar, be it journalists or any other people and we are against them completely.
Jilani: Those who believe that the layman can be fooled by the religious sentiments are morons. Yes, religion is precious to all but not at the cost of life, property and prosperity. It is now 16 years that we have been fighting for our cause and will continue till the guilty are punished.