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November 17, 2019

India - Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi case: “Peace” without Justice - A Race for Hindu Rashtra - Press statement

“Peace” without Justice: A Race for Hindu Rashtra

On 9 November, India’s highest court delivered the much-awaited judgement in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi case. A bench of five judges unanimously decided to hand over the land—where the Babri Masjid once stood—to a Trust to be constituted by the BJP government in three months. The Sunni Central Wakf Board, the custodian of Babri Masjid, is to be provided 5-acre land elsewhere as compensation. The Nirmohi Akhara is entitled to representation in the Trust for managing the temple. It may be recalled that the Allahabad High Court in 2010 recognised both Hindus and Muslims as “joint holders” of the disputed premises and allotted one-third share each to the above litigants.

This concluding final relief given seems to be in complete contradiction with what it is stated in the judgement. One wonders whether Supreme Court has bartered “peace” with justice. But what we see today in the streets of India is not “peace” but silence. This fearful silence should not be misconstrued as peace.

Never in the history of Supreme Court authors of a Judgement or addendum have been kept hidden from public knowledge. We are left guessing what could have prompted this unprecedented act.

Supreme Court recognizes that there were at least three distinct illegal acts of desecration and final demolishment perpetrated against the Mosque, when it states :” The damage to the mosque in 1934, its desecration in 1949 leading to the ouster of the Muslims and the eventual destruction on 6 December 1992 constituted a serious violation of the rule of law”

“Justice would not prevail if the Court were to overlook the entitlement of the Muslims who have been deprived of the structure of the mosque through means which should not have been employed in a secular nation committed to the rule of law”

Further it concurs that “The evidence indicates that there was no abandonment of the mosque by Muslims. Namaz was observed on Fridays towards December 1949, the last namaz being on 16 December 1949”

It also states that there is no evidence to show that the mosque was built by demolishing any temple.

Handing over the entire Mosque area to Hindu community is solely based on lack of evidence of non-exclusionary use of inner courtyard by Muslims and open, exclusive and unimpeded possession of the outer courtyard by Hindus, while admitting fully well that this exclusive unimpeded possession was obtained through illegal, violent means.
This prompts a question that if the Mosque was still standing would Supreme Court have ordered it to demolish, so Hindus could continue their “exclusive, long, continued and unimpeded worship”?

Where is justice, when the illegal demolition and occupation is in fact awarded full legal ownership of the disputed land? Will justice be done by allocating some other piece of land in lieu of the illegal, violent, political act of demolition and possession of the mosque?

This judgment has further profound implications for the secular character of the Indian State. By entrusting the central government with the task of building the Ram temple, the judgement sets a dangerous precedent. Even more so, as the same does not apply for the Mosque to be built.

At the same time the judgement stresses secular credentials over question of faith by stating “The adjudication of civil claims over private property must remain within the domain of the secular if the commitment to constitutional values is to be upheld. The court cannot adopt a position that accords primacy to the faith and belief of a single religion as the basis to confer both judicial insulation as well as primacy over the legal system as a whole. From Shahid Gunj to Ayodhya, in a country like ours where contesting claims over property by religious communities are inevitable, our courts cannot reduce questions of title, which fall firmly within the secular domain and outside the rubric of religion, to a question of which community‘s faith is stronger.”

This is not the first time that Indian Courts, including Supreme Court has failed to protect constitutional rights of marginalized communities, In Hadiya’s case where an adult woman whose “custody” was handed over to her father by Kerala High Court, had to depose before Supreme Court to convince judiciary that “though she is a woman, she has right to choose her religion and decide with whom she would like to get married”.

In case of sexual harassment against CJI, where CJI himself presided over the bench to hear the complaint, the whole process finally resulted in giving clean cheat to CJI.

In September 2018 Supreme Court delivered its judgement on “Aadhar”. By this judgement biometric authentication is made as precondition to access public welfare schemes like PDS and MGNREGS, almost denying around two to five per cent of the Indian population access to these schemes, as they do not have viable biometric data. Physical or visual impairments such as corneal blindness, corneal scars, and malnourishment induced cataracts or ‘low-quality’ fingerprints from a lifetime of hard labour inhibit those from providing valid fingerprints or iris scans.

The SC's refusal to respond to petitions against abrogation of article 370, and complete clampdown on people of Kashmir, denying them basic freedom of expression, communication and movement, livelihood, health services, education, and also no relief in habeas corpus petitions where thousands are detained and jailed by the government. Last few years we Indian citizens have been time again let down by the judiciary.

When literary there is life and death situation faced by people of Kashmir, SC has given priority to preside over the Ayodhya dispute and heard the matter for 41 days, would shock the conscience of the world.

Welcoming the verdict, Muslims did breathe a sigh of relief, as it limited the scope of triggering violence in the immediate run, which is significant if we remember the loss of lives in the riots. They felt that their suffering will now come to an end as the BJP and Sangh Parivar would not use this issue for their electoral gains. Is this how a contentious issue should be resolved in a democracy, especially when the judges have noted three criminal acts in this very judgment?

A day after the Supreme Court verdict was Eid-un-Milad-Nabi. Muslims in Uttar Pradesh and other parts of the country marked the festival without the usual grandeur and under severe police and paramilitary surveillance. The predominant Muslim neighbourhoods, which are already under-serviced by civic amenities and over-policed, continue to live under the threat of majoritarian attack and the fear of repressive State apparatus.

Justice remains a mirage to these marginalized sections of Indian people.
We, the undersigned, express our great dissatisfaction with the Supreme Court judgment.

group name of endorse

Bebaak Collective ( Voice of Fearless)
Forum Against Oppression of Women
Parwaaz Sanstha

November 16, 2019

India - Maharashtra: Sena-NCP-Congress gets vote of secularists | Jyoti Punwani (15th November 2019)

The New Indian Express

Sena-NCP-Congress gets vote of secularists

Even as Sonia worries about a dent in Cong’s secular image, politically active Muslims in Maharashtra hope her party allies with Sena

Published: 15th November 2019 04:00 AM | Last Updated: 15th November 2019 08:30 AM | A+A A-

By Jyoti Punwani

So ideology isn’t the BJP’s monopoly, it seems. The last few days have placed that impossible-to-define ideology, secularism, at the centre of the political crisis in Maharashtra. The ironies arising from this are many.

Secularism is the one idea the BJP has tried its best to demolish right from the late 80s. But L K Advani’s contribution notwithstanding, the current BJP-run Central government has been far more determined to render obsolete this defining feature of our country than the government headed by Advani-Vajpayee.

Also ironic is the arena where this battle of ideologies is being played out. Maharashtra holds special significance for the BJP, not just for the number of Lok Sabha and Assembly seats it has, but also because it’s known as the land of Shivaji Maharaj and “Phule-Shahu-Ambedkar”. (Shahu Maharaj, ruler of Kolhapur from 1894-1922, introduced 50% reservation in government jobs for backward class candidates.)

Maharashtra was also the home of 19th century reformers Ranade-Agarkar-Gokhale-Pandita Ramabai, and later of Gandhian socialists, ranging from Yusuf Meherally, S M Joshi and Madhu Limaye, to Mrinal Gore and George Fernandes (before he switched loyalties). The slain rationalist Narendra Dabholkar was part of this tradition. Then there were the legendary communists: founder of the CPI S A Dange, and the CPM’s Godavari Parulekar and Ahilya Rangnekar.

It is this tradition that never lets the RSS get power, though the organisation was founded in Nagpur, with its top leaders hailing from the state, from founder Hedgewar to Golwalkar to Savarkar to Mohan Bhagwat. I haven’t forgotten the elation of a senior RSS/BJP functionary as he spoke of a near-certain BJP sweep, for the first time in the 2014 Assembly polls. More than the prospect of power, what he relished was the defeat of Maharashtra’s much-vaunted progressive tradition.

The third irony is the party that has prevented government formation in the state. The BJP has had little problem with the Lohiaite Nitish Kumar, whose political career started in the JP movement. It is the Congress, the party that’s increasingly being defined as hollowed out id-eologically, that has made ideology the pivot of its hesitation to tie-up with the BJP’s oldest ally—and the only one to openly share its Hindutva ideology.

But here’s perhaps the biggest irony. Even as Sonia Gandhi worries about the dent in her party’s “secular” image if she supports a party founded by Bal Thackeray, in Maharashtra, especially in Mumbai that saw the worst riots after the demolition of the Babri Masjid, politically active Muslims and secularists are rooting for a Sena-NCP-Congress alliance.

And it’s not only to keep the BJP out. The Muslim-Shiv Sena relationship started changing after the party came to power in 1995. Many factors are responsible, all of them ironically linked with the Congress. Muslims found the Sena a change from the Congress in many unexpected ways. The party’s corporators and MLAs were both accessible and willing to work for them, even though they knew Muslims hadn’t voted for them. The community got long-pending demands, ignored by the Congress, resolved during the five years that Thackeray held the remote control of the state. This period saw only one minor communal riot, which was swiftly controlled. In power for the first time, and soon after the 92-93 riots, the Sena was keen to break its rioter image.

The current Sena president has been a major factor in this change. Muslims who know Uddhav Thackeray claim he is not anti-Muslim, and dismiss his sporadic inflammatory remarks as appeasement of the Sena’s old constituency.

But even Uddhav’s “mild” persona wouldn’t have been enough had the Congress-NCP not alienated Muslims in their 15-year reign. The euphoria among Muslims when the Sena-BJP government was defeated in 1999 vanished by 2014. The ruling Congress-NCP combine’s dogged refusal to punish the guilty of the 92-93 riots, specially policemen; its neglect of educational facilities for the community; and most important, the arrest of innocent Muslims across the state on terror charges, saw Asaduddin Owaisi’s party win two Assembly seats in its very first try in 2014.

Today, you remind Muslims about Bal Thackeray’s documented role in the 92-93 riots, and they turn around and ask which party was in power both at the Centre and the state then, who was the defence minister camping in the city while it burnt.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, many Muslims urged Uddhav not to ally with the BJP. It was only when he expressed his reluctance to go against his MLAs’ wishes that they went back to their original patron. But the Congress won just one Lok Sabha seat, and seemed to be in deep slumber right till the Assembly elections six months later. Like the party’s Central leadership, Muslim activists too wrote off the Congress.

In fact, the very visible presence of Muslims in the rallies of Shiv Sena candidates during the Assembly campaign led one Muslim worker to wonder wryly whether the BJP would emerge as the party for the Hindus and the Sena the party for the Muslims, given the near wipe-out of “secular” parties in the State!

But with Maharashtra’s silent voters having breathed life into the “secular” parties, and the Shiv Sena at last free of the BJP, is it surprising that many Muslims and some secular activists are rooting for this strange combine? With the BJP to reckon with, how to define who is “secular” here, and who is “communal”?

Jyoti Punwani

Freelance journalist based in Mumbai

India: Banaras Hindu University Official Charged By UP Police, Forced To Quit After She Removed RSS Flag

ndtv.com

BHU Official Charged By Cops, Forced To Quit After She Removed RSS Flag
தமிழில் படிக்க
The Banaras Hindu University official who removed an RSS flag from a playground on campus has been forced to quit her post and has also been charged by the Uttar Pradesh police of "insulting religious beliefs".
All India | Written by Alok Pandey (with inputs from PTI) | Updated: November 15, 2019 15:47 IST

BHU official has been charged with a criminal case by UP police.

Mirzapur:
Highlights

The official removed the flag while students were holding a shakha
Police have charged Kiran Damle for insulting religious beliefs
She said she was only trying to follow the rules set by the university

A senior official of the Banaras Hindu University who removed an RSS flag from a playground on campus has been forced to quit her post and has also been charged by the Uttar Pradesh police of "insulting religious beliefs".

The RSS, short for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, is the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP.

Kiran Damle, the Deputy Chief Proctor at the Mirzapur campus of the renowned Varanasi-based university, reportedly removed the flag while students affiliated to the RSS were holding a shakha (gathering) on Tuesday morning. The students later held protests on the campus, forcing Ms Damle to quit her post.

Ms Damle's troubles, however, did not end there. After the local RSS unit filed a complaint, the police registered a criminal case against her on charges of insulting religious beliefs.

The stunned official says she was only following rules of the institution. "I asked the shakha members to remove the flag themselves, but they paid no attention. So I picked up the flag and gave it to my peon. When they came after me, I told them that they couldn't hoist the flag at such a sensitive time. When they insisted, I said I would not allow it inside the stadium," she said.

RSS members then staged a protest at the administrative block claiming that Ms Damle's action amounted to disrespecting the flag. "We were in the shakha since 6 am, doing pranayam and yoga. Damleji came and insulted the flag. She said no shakha would be permitted here because we don't favour any community here," said Sanskar, a student at the university.

The protesters also accused Ms Damle of misbehaving with students.

Sources in the university administration told NDTV that they are in talks with senior RSS leaders in Mirzapur to resolve the issue. However, even politicians from the ruling party seem to have taken a stand against Ms Damle.

"Kiran Damle has resigned. I have forwarded this to the Vice Chancellor. We are awaiting a decision. She has accepted her mistake. She said she did it innocently. She said she did not know the RSS flag is so respected. She is ready to give this in written. We did not want things to escalate, but filing an FIR is not in my hands," said professor Ramadevi Nimannapalli , in charge of BHU's South Campus in Mirzapur.

"The RSS has been holding shakhas here for many years now. It was the last wish of (BHU founder) Madan Mohan Malviyaji that any institution started by him should have shakhas. She has insulted his memory," said Ratnakar Mishra, a BJP MLA who visited the campus during the protests.

The opposition Congress lashed out at the RSS. "RSS shakhas should not be held on the campus of educational institutions. In any case, why are outsiders -- including RSS officebearers -- interfering in the affairs of the university," questioned former Congress MLA Lalitesh Pati Tripathi.

(With inputs from PTI)

Kashmir After Abrogation of Article 370: Lies and Propaganda Galore

by Ram Puniyani

It is over three months that the Article 370 has been abrogated. The procedure laid down by the law has been given a go bye and through a majority in Lok Sabha, bypassing the people of Kashmir the act has been done. While many a falsehood has been promoted, lately two such surfaced yet again. Paying tribute to Sardar Patel on 31st October, Sardar’s anniversary, Narendra Modi, dedicated the abolition of this article to him. Interestingly it was Sardar who was crucial part of the Committee which had drafted the said article. Also it was Sardar Patel who had moved the resolution of Article 370 in Constituent Assembly as Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, one dealing with the issue as External Affairs minister, was away to US at that time.

With lapse of time not only the ancient and medieval history is being doctored to suit the communal politics, even the recent history is also under mutilation by likes of Modi who are currently ruling the roost. The other point which the Prime Minster and the other top officials are harping strongly is that it was this article due to which terrorism was getting a boost! The point they want to make is that with the abrogation of this article terrorism will be controlled in the troubled state. As public memory is short it is necessary to recall that while hurling the disaster of demonetization on the country, similar claim was made that counterfeit currency is fuelling the terrorism and demonetization will wipe out the militancy in Kashmir. As the matters turned out along with other claims about merits of demonetization even this claim turned out to be totally hollow and false.

As a blockade has been put on Kashmir, normal life brought to standstill, local leaders arrested and national leaders not permitted to visit the valley, in a very clever manner a delegation of some European right wing MPs has been put together by some business person, in the name of an NGO. The invitation to the MP, Chris Davies, who said that he will like to meet the local people on his own; was withdrawn right away and the compliant MP’s did come for a the trip. Their job was to give the ‘All is well’ certificate to the Modi Governments move after the ‘conducted tour’, which they enjoyed.

During this period despite the presence of military in large numbers, despite the claims that the abolition of this article will curtail terrorism in the valley, already disturbing killings have been taking place. In one such tragic incident five migrant workers from West Bengal have been done to death, shot dead in Jammu Kashmir’s Kulgam. Prior to this there was attack on people related to fruit trade. In another shocking and painful incident one person died and fifteen injured in a grenade attack in Srinagar, in a vegetable market where vendors were targeted.

On one hand the people of J&K are feeling humiliated as their state has been demoted to a Union Territory and on the other there are boasts that this is what was the dream of Sardar Patel!

The false hood that India has eliminated one big reason behind terrorism is totally away from truth. This understanding negates the facts of history and builds the narrative to suit the politics being pursued by BJP. Why was militancy there in Kashmir? As such the story begins with Pakistan’s attack on Kashmir, in the form of Kabayalis (Tribal), who were backed by the Pakistan army. Since Kashmiri people did not want to succumb to the “Two Nation Theory” propagated by communal elements, since they were more for secular democracy, they did request Indian Government to quell the Pakistani aggression. The complex process leading the treaty of Accession and later article 370 through Indian Constituent Assembly has been dealt with extensively by serious commentators.

The efforts of likes Shyama Prasad Mukherjee to put pressure to forcibly merge Kashmir with India, the rise of communal politics in India sent the feeling of disenchantment to Sheikh Abdullah in particular, the one who as such was instrumental in accession of Kashmir to India. To cut the long story short, Sheikh’s apprehensions were answered by putting him in the prison and this is what sowed the seeds of alienation among people of Kashmir. This alienation of Kashmir people duly supported by Pakistan is what has been the root cause of terrorism in Kashmir. Article 370 was the protective cover which by giving the autonomy to the state of J&K was a big obstacle to the proliferation of terrorism as such. Of course the global situation where by America sowed the seeds of Al Qaeda to fight against Russian army added on to the problem as the Al Qaeda and its clones, after defeating the Russian army in alliance with anti Soviet Forces, made their entry into the troubled state, and communalized the militancy. Thirty years down the line now the picture is being presented in an obverse way.

What was needed was to instill more democracy in the state and involve the disgruntled elements into the process of dialogue. Of course the negative role of Pakistan, backed up thoroughly by America has been the major factor. The problems can be solved only when the correct diagnosis of the issue is made. The warped understanding of recent history by communalists, is dictating the current politics and so the blame of militancy is being put on article 370. Article 370 has also been blamed for lack of development in Kashmir.

The truth is that in social development indices Kashmir’s indices are better than many states and above the national averages. Time alone will tell how Pakistan behaves, how the cancerous Al Qaeda type elements will be tackled within the state. An all round process of dialogues on the issue is a must. Strengthening of democratic process seems to be the only way to restore peace and overcome the violence which is the tormenting the people of Kashmir!

November 15, 2019

INDIA: Over 40 outfits IN TAMIL NADU form 'anti-fascist coalition' to oppose Supreme Court's Ayodhya verdict

Over 40 outfits form 'anti-fascist coalition' to oppose Supreme Court's Ayodhya verdict
On Wednesday the outfits including Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi (TVK), Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and May 17 Movement announced the formation of an "anti-fascist coalition". The coalition will stage a demonstration against the apex court...
By ANI | Nov 14, 2019

[ . . . ]

https://m.economictimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/over-40-outfits-form-anti-fascist-coalition-to-oppose-supreme-courts-ayodhya-verdict/amp_articleshow/72048649.cms

November 14, 2019

Video: Ayodhya Ka Faisla - Dobara Vichaar Karen | Apoorvanand

India:: Listen, Mister Muslim. You are rightly upset with the Ayodhya verdict as it puts faith above law

The Indian Express, November 14, 2019


Listen, Mister Muslim. You are rightly upset with the Ayodhya verdict as it puts faith above law
Let’s recognise our own complicity in becoming the convenient ‘Other’ for Hindu nationalists

Written by Javed Anand


The writer is general secretary, Muslims for Secular Democracy, and co-editor, ‘Communalism Combat’


The rigid, intransigent Islam that our ulema and political leadership continue to preach leaves us little space for manoeuvre or room to negotiate a respectable place for ourselves in a secular-democratic polity. (Representational/File)

Listen, Mister Muslim. You are rightly upset with the verdict of the Supreme Court on the Ayodhya land dispute as it puts faith above law. Not for the first time, secular India has let you down. But truth to tell, you too have let secular India down. In this zero sum game between the Indian state and you, it’s been advantage Hindutva all the way.
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This is not to rub salt in your wound. But to point out that Muslims as a community are guilty of the very same thing they are accusing the Supreme Court of: Pitching Shariah law against the Indian Constitution, faith against the law of the land. The rigid, intransigent Islam that our ulema and political leadership continue to preach leaves us little space for manoeuvre or room to negotiate a respectable place for ourselves in a secular-democratic polity. Such inflexibility is bound to land us in the ditch, again and again, be it on the question of a masjid, triple talaq, Muslim Personal Law in general, or the issue of population control.

It’s time for some honest introspection. Was it not us who took to the streets in 1985, protested aggressively against the apex court’s judgment in the Shah Bano case, insisted that Shariah law took precedence over the secular law of the land?

The then Congress government under Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi capitulated and the result was the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986. Faith triumphed over a secular law (Section 125 of the CrPC) and Muslims were euphoric. The consequence: Secular-minded Indians were outraged, while Hindutva organisations grabbed the opportunity to up the ante. If the law can be changed in deference to Muslim religious sentiments, what about Hindu religious sentiments? In a balancing act, the Rajiv government engineered the opening of the locks of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. Could it be, Mister Muslim, that in setting a dangerous precedent, we lost the “plot”, not on November 9, 2019 but way back in 1986?
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As the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi agitation snowballed, thanks to the ulema’s myopia, what should have remained a legal dispute over land turned into a dharam yudh between faiths, a conflict between Ram and Rahim. The militant “mandir wahin banayenge” war-cry of the “Ram Bhakts” was matched by the equally belligerent “once-a-mosque-always-a-mosque” posture of the Muslim leadership. It’s a position that the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) upholds even today. The leader of the All-India Majlis Ittehadul-Muslimeen (AIMIM), Asaduddin Owaisi, has recently reiterated: “A mosque belongs to Allah and no Muslim has any right to give or gift it away”. In Islamic Saudi Arabia any number of mosques have been demolished or relocated for road widening and other public purposes. But in secular India, it’s a different Islam.

The escalation of communal conflict well suited the designs of the Sangh Parivar in convincing more and more Hindus that “Babar ki aulad” are preventing the building of a temple at the birth place of Lord Ram. From two seats in the Lok Sabha in 1984, the BJP’s tally shot up to 85 seats in 1989 and 120 seats in 1991. This should have been a wake-up call for Muslims. But as riot after riot claimed more and more Muslim lives, the leadership remained blind to the reality that a state which failed to protect lives was unlikely to save a mosque.

Does anyone recall the statement of the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee a year or two before the demolition: “The mosque is sacred to Muslims, the spot is sacred to us Hindus as the janamsthan of Bhagwan Ram. I appeal to my Muslim brothers. We Hindus will respectfully lift the Babri Masjid brick by brick and re-build it at another spot. You let us build our Ram Mandir there.” The Muslim response: A mosque does not mean four walls but the land on which it stands. In other words, it’s not a question of law but a matter of faith.

Five months before the Babri masjid was demolished (December 1992), in an article published in the now defunct weekly Sunday Observer, yours truly had argued why in the interest of the minority community and the national interest, Muslims should unilaterally hand over the Babri Masjid, either to the president of the Indian republic or the Supreme Court. Let the chief custodians of secular India decide whatever they thought to be in the best interests of national unity and communal amity. The article reminded Muslims that the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, offered statutory protection against any future agitations concerning all other mosques in the country. In response, I got a mouthful from even secular Hindu friends who asserted: “The Babri Masjid is not just a property of Muslims. It is a symbol of secular India. Who are you to gift it away?”

We, Mister Muslim, lost the opportunity for winning Hindu goodwill by our gesture, arresting if not reversing the rising tide of militant Hindutva and strengthening secular forces. The outcome: For Muslims, the loss of an estimated 3,000 lives since then in the recurring communal flare-ups; for Hindu nationalists, Ayodhya proved to be the chariot to ride to power.

Fast forward to November 9, 2019. Yes, the Supreme Court’s verdict is disturbing. More disturbing is the fact that it was unanimous; not one of the five judges voiced a dissenting note. Even more disturbing, consider how it is that well before judgment day the Sangh Parivar had not the least doubt that the impending judgment would be in favour of Ram Mandir. How else does one understand their overnight switch from mandir wahin banayenge vow to an appeal to all Indians to “wholeheartedly support” the verdict, irrespective of which way it goes? Also, consider this: Most self-proclaimed secular parties are content with having expressed their respect for the verdict.

It’s time we realised, Mister Muslim, that our clinging to the ulema’s brand of Islam gives every conflict a Hindu-Muslim complexion when the ongoing battle is, in fact, between secular India and Hindu Rashtra. We mustn’t become the convenient “other” for the Hindu nationalists to hide their real agenda.

This article first appeared in the print edition on November 14, 2019 under the title ‘Listen, Mister Muslim’. The writer is convener, Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy and co-editor, Sabrang India online.