Babri Masjid demolition case: Uma Bharti need not resign as political morality is a thing of past for BJP

With the CBI court framing charges against senior BJP-RSS leaders in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case on 30 May, it is now clear that veterans like LK Advani, MM Joshi, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katyar, Vishnu Hari Dalmiya etc. will now stand trial in the case.

NR Mohanty May 31, 2017 20:05:01 IST
Babri Masjid demolition case: Uma Bharti need not resign as political morality is a thing of past for BJP

With the special CBI court framing charges against senior BJP-RSS leaders in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case on 30 May, it is now clear that veterans like LK Advani, MM Joshi, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katyar, Vishnu Hari Dalmiya etc. will now stand trial in the case.

This decision of the CBI court was on expected lines, as the Supreme Court itself, on perusal of the evidence available before it, had in April this year asked for the revival of the conspiracy charges which had earlier been discharged by the trial court.

What was, however, surprising was the plea made by these leaders before the court that they had not hatched any conspiracy to demolish the mosque and they should be discharged. The court rejected this plea, rightly so.

Babri Masjid demolition case Uma Bharti need not resign as political morality is a thing of past for BJP

File image of Murli Manohar Joshi, LK Advani and Uma Bharti.

If one of these leaders who could be discharged from the conspiracy case on circumstantial grounds, he could be Advani. As a matter of fact, referring to the day criminals demolished the Babri Masjid, Advani had put it on record to admit that that was the saddest day of his life. In keeping with his dignified demeanour, he maintained a studied silence when the Supreme Court had revived the conspiracy charges last month.

Still, Advani could not have been kept out of the legal proceedings as he had led the Ram Mandir movement – not just to construct a Ram Temple in Ayodhya but also to build one at the very spot on which the Babri Masjid stood.

You mobilise millions on this idea, make thousands descend on the spot and then expect them to refrain from any action to execute the idea – that is a non sequitur. That would not pass legal muster.

On the other extreme, one leader who has no face to deny culpability is Bharti. She was photographed embracing Joshi in joy when part of the Babri structure was pulled down by the BJP miscreants. She had gone on record to say that 6 December, 1992, the day Babri Masjid fell, was a red letter day in India’s history.

What was indeed alarming was that Bharti, who is now a Union minister, reiterated her old stance soon after the Supreme Court of India restored the conspiracy angle last month. In a series of interviews to media organisations, she gloated about the criminal act of the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

As if to taunt the SC, she went on record to say – in sharp contrast to Advani’s confession – that the day of the Babri demolition was the proudest moment of her life.

That is supposed to be her "courageous" stance and, as she has said again and again, she was prepared to be "hanged" for building the Ram temple at the precise spot where the Babri Masjid stood. Why is she now, in the court and outside, trying to prove her own innocence and pass the buck to hundreds of kar sevaks to face the legal brunt of the crime of demolishing the Babri structure?

On the strength of her contribution to the Babri demolition movement, she became a mass leader, a chief minister of a state and now a Union minister. But when it comes to facing the legal consequences of that movement, she is trying to wash her hands of any involvement in it; she tamely tells the court that she did not want the Babri Masjid to be demolished the way it was done; so those who did it should face the consequences, and not she.

This is strange leadership! When you fight for a political cause and indulge in a criminal act in furtherance of that political cause, you should be ready to face the consequences, and not chicken out of it. Many young revolutionaries during the freedom struggle faced the gallows openly hailing their political fight. They never shied away from proclaiming their association with the revolutionary criminal activity in order to advance their political cause. They were the real heroes for the people of this country.

But in Bharti and others of her ilk, we find a caricature of those revolutionary heroes.

What to talk of laying down their lives for the cause they believe in, they are not even ready to lay down the positions of power they enjoy till the courts actually throw them out of office.

Take the case of Kalyan Singh, who as chief minister of the state when Babri demolition happened, was by all evidences ferreted out by the Justice Liberhan Committee, could be the prime conspirator behind the demolition on that fateful day.

As per the SC order – based on the submissions made by the CBI — he is a prominent face who must face trial but he enjoys the immunity given to governors from prosecution as he is the governor of Rajasthan today.

Singh should have resigned on his own to face the legal charges, but he chose to hide behind the immunity clause. This is a cowardly act not symptomatic of great leader.

Bharti as Union minister does not enjoy immunity from criminal prosecution; otherwise, she would have followed the footsteps of Singh as well and saved herself the legal hassle of facing the court. Otherwise, both Singh and Bharti are in the same league; both want to stick to the position of power as long as they can.

As charges have been framed against Bharti, there is a demand that she should resign. But her party is brazening out the demand saying that she need not resign, because she has not been convicted yet.

This is the standard plea of all accused of criminal activity and their protagonists when a police chargesheet is filed. It is in the fitness of things that a public servant need not resign until the judicial application of mind in a criminal case had taken place. But here is a case where the judicial officer has gone through the material submitted by the prosecution and has come to the conclusion that prima facie criminal cases could be slapped against the accused.

After this judicial adjudication, any political leader worth the reckoning, should have stepped down vowing to return to position when cleared of charges. Advani had set that high standard when he had resigned even as a Member of Parliament when the Jain Hawala scandal exploded in his face. He kept his word; he returned as a Member of Parliament and went on to become the home minister and deputy prime minister when the court dismissed all charges against him.

Some BJP acolytes say that what Advani faced was a corruption charge but what Bharti is facing is a political charge. They must be reminded that what Bharti is facing are charges of criminal conspiracy, the consequences of which led to loss of thousands of innocent lives. Bharti is, in fact, facing a more severe charge than what Advani faced in the 1990s.

But then Bharti has not resigned as she is not made of the same moral fibre as that of Advani. And, again, we must not forget that the BJP under the stewardship of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Advani constituted a moral alternative to the Congress whereas the same party under Narendra Modi and Amit Shah has now become another political outfit for which power, not moral standard, is the barometer of success.

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