By Anand Soondas
To be brutally honest, it is a sheer and blatant travesty of “investigation” to take almost two decades to close what was little more than an open and shut case. Leaders were seen inciting mobs to tear down the Babri Masjid at Ayodhya on a day that may have permanently changed for the worse the psyche of large sections of people in India – both in the minority and majority communities.
Come to think of it, BJP and Sangh Parivar leaders were caught on tape, caught on camera and caught in the eyes of thousands of people exhorting frenzied crowds to bludgeon and batter the masjid. Ek dhakka aur do – give one push more – had been the battle cry for many in the Parivar, each as obsessed as the foot soldiers they were leading not just to destroy a place of worship but the very fabric of communal harmony that clothed India.
This case did not need investigative prowess and intelligence gathering acumen as much as it needed the courage of conviction, grand principles of justice, an acute sense of what’s wrong and right – on the part of the governments, then and those that followed, and on the part of those handed the enormous responsibility of pinning blame on the clutch of people responsible for what must surely rank as one of India’s biggest blotches – along with the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 and the Godhra violence.
It’s also startling and reeks of great indifference on the part of respective governments that the Liberhan Commission wasn’t given a strict deadline to finish off a probe that always tottered and never walked straight with the determination of direction. Or that MS Liberhan, the former Punjab and Haryana High Court judge, himself wasn’t changed when there was little to show for things even after a decade. That the end has come after a staggering 17 years, 48 extensions, 400 sittings and Rs 9 crore of public money is a marvel on its own. This can perhaps be tolerated only in India.
In his defence, Liberhan has said he got little cooperation from people who mattered. Though he added he will not name them right away. We may or never know who these people were, but don’t bet on it. Under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, the UPA government has six months to share in Parliament Liberhan’s findings and the action taken report. But, as TOI reported today, “tabling of the report in the two Houses will depend on how swiftly the government wants to act on the recommendations”.
If you ask me, the government will be in no hurry. Some players in the sordid saga are already dead, others too infirm, yet others have been completely marginalized during the time this report has seen the light of day. Taking action, even if this government gathers the guts to do it, will not mean the same anymore. Justice, like all things else, is only relevant when the injured party is agonizing about it. I get the feeling that the modern Muslim and the modern Hindu just wants to wash his hands of the blot, use a sanitizer to let go of the stench and move on. Good for the country. So, here’s hoping a place of worship is never attacked in India again, but in case there is such a tragedy, let’s hope the government works on a time frame to deliver its verdict on the sully, if not justice
Source: Times of India
By Anand Soondas