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Ayodhya And After

Ayodhya And After

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Published by ABID H

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Published by: ABID H on Sep 11, 2008
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A far more logical explanation for the non-occurrence of riots in or near the Rathyatra,
and the large-scale occurrence of serious riots in Uttar Pradesh, is this. For the common
Hindu, the passing of the Ram Rath was a joyous religious event, perhaps compounded
by a sense of relief or even victory because it announced the symbolical righting of the
centuries of persecution inflicted by Muslim rulers upon the Hindus. At any rate, it was a

happy affair that sweetened the atmosphere rather than create bitterness and violence.
Moreover, mr. Advani in his speeches called on all Indians to celebrate and to cultivate
harmony. That his speeches were not inflammatory, I know for certain even though I
heard not one of them : mr. Advani has many enemies who watch him for discrediting
mistakes, and if he had made any objectionable statement, it would have been splashed
across the front pages. It may be true, as some papers have written, that some local BJP
leaders did make inflammatory speeches. but at least the starring speaker called for peace
and harmony, and the very invoking of Ram created a positive atmosphere good enough
to yield the actual result that no riots place.

By contrast, in Uttar Pradesh the ubiquitous public speaker was chief minister Mulayam
Singh Yadav, a man with an impressive crime record (highlighted in Illustrated Weekly
after the 1989 elections, but now forgotten thanks to his uncompromising secularism),
who gave very inflammatory and confrontationist speeches : "Not even a bird shall be
able to enter Ayodhya"
, for "We will crush them". The power of the word was
demonstrated once more : while the man who called for self-restraint and harmony had a
peaceful Rathyatra, the man who called for confrontation, got confrontation.153

In spite of

unprecedented police deployment and curfews in many towns, riots broke out.

A recurring scenario, in conformity with the general pattern of Hindu-Muslim riots in the
twentieth century, was that Hindu processions, especially the Ram Jyoti processions,
were attacked when passing through Muslim- dominated areas. These attacks were
largely a materialization of all the fiery curses that Mulayam in his mass rallies had cast
upon the Ram processions. In many cases, the Hindus retaliated by attacking any
Muslims they could find, which unfortunately were mostly innocent bystanders. Or
villagers who got involved in a riot in town went back to their village and attacked the
Muslims they could find there (that was the scenario of the huge Bhagalpur carnage of
1989, this repeated on a smaller scale in Gonda).

However, it seems it was not only by the power of the word that those riots got going.
The Gonda riot started when actual bombs were thrown at a Hindu procession. According
to press reports as well as the report by a BJP fact-finding team, at least one of them had
been thrown from the local Janata Dal office by people working for Munnan Khan, the
local MLA. This man is a friend of the chief minister : with the latter's support, he was
elected in 1989 as an independent candidate (though a JD member) against the official
candidate of the anti- Congress combine (a BJP man). After people had been killed in this
unilateral attack on the procession (officially six ; according to Congress MP Anand
Singh, one hundred), mutual fighting broke out. And still later, some Hindu hotheads took
out revenge parties to Muslim quarters outside the city.

Many papers have, in their final overview of the riot, consciously blurred the first stage
of the Gonda riot, and highlighted the last stage in order to absolve the Muslims and put
the blame on he Hindus, i.e. on the Janmabhoomi movement, i.e. on L.K. Advani who
was far away.

Consider this report in the Times of India :"The procession numbering about 5000 people
was wending its way through the narrow streets of Colonelganj shouting some slogans
which could be deemed provocative in an atmosphere of tension, when it was attacked
with stones, bombs and other missiles. The attack allegedly began from the roof of the
Janata Dal office, according to some shopkeepers whose shops were gutted."154


suggests that slogan-shouting on the part of the processionists has caused the violence.
But of course, bombs are not picked up and thrown in an emotional reaction to
inflammatory slogans, as too many journalists would like us to believe. Bombs are quite
certainly purchased or made beforehand, and a bomb-attack is definitely premeditated. In
fact, on rooftops not even loose-lying stones are that readily available for impulsive acts
of stone-throwing.

It is very clear to an unbiased reader that the Gonda carnage has started with a pre-
meditated attack on the procession. Going by the original newspaper reports, some Janata
Dal miscreants affiliated with Muslim party leaders were the aggressors, and the
processionists were the victims. However, it is in the nature of aggression that the victims
get the blame. Thus, a rapist will usually say that the girl had asked for it, that she had
provoked him. Here too, it is not stated simply that the processionists were attacked.
Rather, it is said in goonda-speak, approvingly broadcast by the secularist press, that the
procession has provoked violence and caused riots.

In the same newspaper report, mention is made of an earlier incident: "It all began with a
girl being teased by anti-social elements owing allegiance to one Talukdar Khan."
for this earlier stage of the communal conflict, the paper does not hide what side started.
And then it goes on to say that "the other side was provoked and mobbed his house",
without specifying how exactly they were "provoked" by the Muslims, upon which "he
drew up plans with his supporters to attack the procession on September 30"

So, at every stage of the escalation, you see Muslims starting, Hindus merely reacting,
and Muslims pre- planning large-scale violence. And it is not me who says so, I read this
in the reporting of secularist newspapers (though not on their Opinion page). These are
indications from unsuspected sources that members of the Muslim community take a
disproportionately large part in starting communal violence.

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