Associate Partner

Ayodhya dispute: Expecting favourable SC verdict, RSS steps up effort to preserve communal harmony, asks cadres for restraint

  • The RSS and BJP leaders have been deliberating at length over the issue and have come up to a well-considered decision to ask their cadre and sympathisers to respect the Supreme Court verdict

  • There is an apprehension that the fringe, which exists in both the communities - Hindus and Muslims - may react in a way that could provoke sentiments of other community that could lead to untoward situations

  • Given the calendar of the Supreme Court, working days for the next two weeks has given rise to the speculation that Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi-led five-judge bench may give verdict on Ayodhya by end of next week

Ahead of the Supreme Court judgment on the Ayodhya dispute which is expected before 17 November, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its affiliates are exercising extreme caution and taking efforts to ensure its cadres accept the verdict amicably.

On Wednesday, Arun Kumar, the akhil Bharatiya prachar pramukh of RSS, took to Twitter to announce that an elaborate Pracharak Varg, which was scheduled to take place in Haridwar from 30 October to 5 November had been postponed “due to some unavoidable reasons” but a coordination meeting of a smaller group drawn from brass of Sangh, BJP, VHP and some other main affiliates was taking place in Delhi.

Both things were unusual. First, the postponement of an RSS Pracharak Varg meet, which is generally decided long in advance, as per an almost fixed calendar. Second, the announcement that the other meeting of a smaller select group of top functionaries which was chaired by Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat took place in Delhi. It was also attended by BJP president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

What was even noteworthy was the announcement that Ayodhya was discussed in that meeting: “The Supreme Court is expected to deliver its verdict on the Ram Janambhoomi case in the next few days. Whatever be the verdict, everyone should accept it with an open mind. After the judgment, it is everyone’s responsibility that the atmosphere in the country should remain cordial. The issue is also being discussed in the meeting.”

The tone was that of caution to its vast cadre mass and Hindutava support base. It is not just that the Pracharak Varg meet was postponed. Even the RSS affiliates like the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh cancelled its national office bearers meet, which was otherwise scheduled to take place in Haridwar on 15-17 November. The same happened with Vidya Bharati’s All India Science Fair to be held in Kanpur and another RSS meeting in Varanasi which was to be held on 9-10 November.

The RSS and all its affiliates are hopeful that based on the kind of pieces of evidence and arguments that were put forward by Hindu and Muslim groups in the Supreme Court, the title suit verdict should be favourable to Hindus and they are accordingly preparing themselves to deal with situatiosn that may emerge following the verdict.

The RSS and BJP leaders have been deliberating at length over the issue and have come to a well-considered decision to ask their cadre and sympathisers to respect the Supreme Court verdict, whatever it might be and also not go overboard should the judgment come in their favour. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on several occasions has said that everyone should honour and accept the verdict, whatever it might be.

This time around the VHP which was earlier seen as playing spoilsport (at least popularly perceived that way) when asked to exercise caution and restraint is going by the collective wisdom and playing the ball.

It should be noted at this juncture when history on the centuries-old dispute is about to be made, the Narendra Modi government, ruling BJP, RSS and its principal affiliates are in sync in terms of the thought process on Ayodhya and how they should deal with the situations as they may emerge post-verdict.

Given the calendar of the Supreme Court, working days for the next two weeks has given rise to the speculation that the Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi-led five-judge bench may give verdict on Ayodhya by the end of next week. CJI Gogoi retires on 17 November (Sunday), which makes 15 November as his last full-fledged working day as the Chief Justice of India.

A well-placed source in the RSS told Firstpost that one of the main reasons behind the postponement or cancellation of various programmes by Sangh and its associates was to ensure that all senior and middle-level functionaries remained stationed at their respective command areas. All of them had been tasked to convey the message downwards that the verdict is well taken and their supporters react in a mature way, and ensure that their behaviour doesn't create any bitterness among Hindus and Muslims.

The court is closed on 9-12 November, weekend and holidays. The last working week for the present CJI thus leaves a tight window of two-three days. In the coming week starting 4 November, the Supreme Court will be functional for a full five days. Besides Ayodhya, there are other half a dozen important cases where the CJI Gogoi-led bench is expected to pronounce verdict in eight working days that he has.

Prime Minister Modi’s words on Ayodhya at Mann ki Baat on 27 October clearly indicated his concern on the matter. It is worthwhile to reproduce what he said last week.

“I remember when the Allahabad High Court gave its verdict on Ram Janmabhoomi in September 2010. You could jog your memory a bit and reflect about the atmosphere then. Various kinds of people took to the arena, various interest groups were playing games to take advantage of that situation in their own way. The kind of language that was spoken in order to generate tension in the atmosphere. There was also an attempt to instill shrillness in the tone of different speakers. Some of the loudmouths and the braggarts had the sole intention of hogging the spotlight at that time. And we all know what kind of irresponsible talk was floating around.

“But this scenario had continued for five days, or seven days, or ten days, but, the delivery of the court’s decision generated a pleasant and surprising change of mood in the country. On the one hand, the machinations went on to generate tension for week or two, but, when the decision was taken on Ram Janmabhoomi, the government, political parties, social organisations, civil society, representatives of all sects and saints gave restrained and balanced statements. There were attempts to reduce the tension in the sociopolitical environment. I remember that day vividly… That day, that moment instils in us all a sense of duty. It is an example of how the voice of unison can bestow strength upon our country,” Modi had said in the latest edition of the Mann ki Baat.

The message given by RSS leaders is broadly based on the same lines.

There is an apprehension that the fringe, which exists in both the communities — Hindus and Muslims — may react in a way that could provoke sentiments of the other community and could lead to untoward situations.

The stress in RSS and BJP meetings is to contain that kind of situation. An RSS functionary said, “Our effort is to ensure that the fringe does not dictate the narrative and lead to any situation that could be detrimental for the Modi government and the country.” The RSS is hoping of an extended Diwali but without much of fireworks.

Updated Date: Nov 01, 2019 17:11:32 IST