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Islam and Pluralism ( 30 Jun 2009, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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The Liberhan report on Babri Masjid demolition: No point in revisiting the past

Let us Focus on the Future

By A.M. Jamsheed Basha

Whether Advani, Uma And Murali Manohar Joshi Would Be Indicted? Minorities Wait with Anxiety.

A period as long as 17 years was just sufficient enough for Justice Liberhan to submit the Liberhan Commission Report to the PM on 30.6.2009. The contents were not made known, but the timing of the report has sent chills into the nerves of the BJP leadership, who are taking stock of the situation in an emergency meet in the Capital.

Why it took so long for the Liberhan Commission to compile the report remains a mystery as much as the demolition of the Babri Masjid itself a bigger mystery.

The bigger question arises, whether Mr. L K Advani would be indicted or not? According to information available that the Commission held hundreds of hearings but there were no direct evidence produced against Advani during the entire 17 years of tenure of the commission. It has been left entirely on judge's discretion to interpret the sequence of event, quotes, speeches and interviews of Advani and other co-accused and their public actions to 'judge' their actual role behind the demolition of mosque. The minorities will wait with anxiety till the contents were made public.

Kamal Farooqui, a member of the Babri Masjid Action Committee, says, "If the commission gives a clean chit to Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti over their role in demolition then the report will lose its credibility. We are not so forgetful. All of us have seen what happened in Ayodhya -- right on the site -- for a full three days. How tension was built up, how people were bought and how the leaders rejoiced when the mosque turned into dust."

Two outcomes are certain to happen after the report is released for public viewing. If the report gives a clean chit to the BJP leaders including Advani, then minorities would discredit the report as a whitewash. On the other hand, if the report indicts the BJP leadership for inciting demolition, then the party would have many things to explain to the people of the country.

There is another view on the issue. Advani maintained all along that he was saddened at the event and he almost had tears in his eyes during the time. Besides, he took utmost interest in the Commission proceedings giving his account of the events and his actual role. Even in his autobiography My Country My Life he has maintained that he was feeling both distraught and helpless when the Babri Masjid was demolished. It was deep sense of regret on the part of this great leader, and there is no reason why the Muslims should not accept this as admitted guilt and apology?

It may be remembered that in 2007, when commission counsel Anupam Gupta quit in disgust it shocked many. At that time, Gupta had told Outlook magazine that, "I am not sure whether Justice Liberhan would like to address L K Advani's role in the demolition." Will he be proved right?

However, a relieved Justice Liberhan, told after handing over the report to the PM that he felt relieved and independent. Justice Liberhan will be remembered for running the longest ever commission in India's history and that is nothing to be proud about for country's justice delivery system.

There is no denying the fact that the demolition of the Babri Masjid at Ayodhya, was a watershed event that changed not just Indian politics but Indian society as well, but it is so far a mystery. The event gave birth to extremism in the country that saw a chain of extremist activities starting from the serial bombing of Mumbai. But the 26/11 attack by foreign mercenaries on the commercial capital of the country, saw an unprecedented unity and integration of the people. They remained calm and maintained communal harmony despite highest provocation during the trying hours following 26/11 defeating the nefarious designs of extremists elements across the borders, who directed the attack. Muslims in particular displayed the highest sense of patriotism throughout. This was particularly evident in their refusal to permit the burial of the dead militants in their graveyards, saying those who killed innocent people of Mumbai could not belong to the great religion of Islam. That was the height of display of one's attachment to the country secularism.

As and when the report is released by the Government, timing it to its advantage, it would be made known to the people of the country, the circumstances that led to the demolition and the role played by the leaders of the saffron brigade led by Advani, Uma, Joshi and a host of others, rendering impotent the state government led by Kalyan Singh and Central Government led by Narsimha Rao, who were unable to control the "shame of the nation and century" as well.

In any event, the Liberhan report may explain certain things but in the end it would not serve any purpose, as the wounds that have been healed, would freshen up. It is therefore advisable for the Muslim community not to make a big issue of it and disturb the hard earned unity and solidarity of the country.

There is no point in revisiting the past. The demolition of Babri Masjid, carnage of Gujarat, bomb blasts and other extremists activities are the things of the past. Muslims have to put all these events behind to look forward for future. The people of India have given a fresh mandate to the UPA govt rejecting altogether the communal elements, as they valued secularism as a cherished goal of the country.

Let all of us, belonging to Muslim community, join the rest of the population in extending our support for the govt to concentrate on development activities that would lead to economic recovery which is of greater importance in the life of our country men than holding who is guilty or not of the already demolished Babri Masjid. It would not help Muslims to resurrect the past. Let us bury it deep into history.

Let us all remember that we may not be saintly enough to forgive and forget our enemies, but for the sake of our own health, the betterment of our own lives, let us forgive and forget them. Muslims better remember this and march forward. Jai Hind.

A.M. Jamsheed Basha is a Chennai-Based Columnist