Babri Masjid Issue

Babri Verdict unofficially makes India a Hindu State: Azam Khan

Who can claim to be more politically articulate, spirited and vibrant if not Muhammed Azam Khan? The seven time Member of Legislative Assembly from Rampur, is battered, bruised, broken but not defeated. He is all but aghast in the wake of the Sept. 30 verdict of the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court, Lucknow, favouring a temple on the site of Babri Masjid. His association with the Babri issue started on Feb 6, 1986 when Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC) was formed. Today, he is being wooed by Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav for re-entry into the party, after his expulsion on the issue of Kalyan Singh. Haider Abbas of The Milli Gazette caught up with him on his first visit to Lucknow after the verdict.

What is your take on the post-judgement scenario?
Democracy and the rule of law are said to swim and also sink together. This verdict has devastated the very idea of rule of law. A judgement which constitutes its base is on faith of 900,000 years. In modern India, an India which had sworn itself to be a sovereign and a secular state, on Jan 26, 1950, is now a thing of the past. This Sept. 30 has made a more severe dent than what was done on Dec 6. The courts have declared that unofficially the nation is now a Hindu State. Law has proved that it won’t let down the Hindus no matter what.   Media has its own machinations. I did not say any such thing. My penchant for jokes, with a scribe of a leading daily, that too on a dining table, led to this impression. I, however, regret whatever was published. A masjid always exists in totality. A sacred book is always in its entirety. It cannot be partitioned. It cannot be bartered or divided or trifurcated.

There have been some voices from within the Board for an out-of-court settlement?
I believe the Board knows it very well how Muslims have been let down by the judiciary. Victory has been conferred to fiction over fact. Yes, of course, there have been some elements within the Board who often toyed with this idea. One senior member even once suggested that Babri Masjid be given to the Hindus and that Shakaracharya be made its mutawalli (trustee).   What is your take on the compromise?
Look, I am of no consequence. The Board has to don the mantle. It is the Board which has to streamline its strategy. I, however, wonder as to how could some members of the Board, when Muslims were nursing (sic) their injured trust in the judiciary, started to play with the idea for a settlement! The Board, I believe, knows it all well, that what all Hindus want is a surrender of Babri Masjid, and later Kashi and Mathura sites, and thereafter 30,000 masjids. The Board should implement a strict embargo on its members going public.

Tell me as to what is the state of BMAC?
The whole movement is run from 34-B Darul Shifa, Lucknow. That is my official residence. I was made the co-convenor of BMAC along with Zafaryab Jilani. It was a peaceful and disciplined movement. I had my reservations after the demolition of Babri Masjid. Thereafter, it could have been conveniently a construction, a reconstruction or a legal committee but not action committee as we were not able to save it to due the deceit of BJP and Congress. The then Congress PM Narsimha Rao was a chameleon. PM is a constitutional post. There was a special 8 pm telecast to the nation on Dec 6. His speech, pledgied the rebuilding the Babri Masjid, after the demolition, which he had supervised himself and later plotted the construction of Ram temple on it. His real objective was later fulfilled by the Congress-led government when he got an act passed in Jan 1993 for the status quo to be maintained. Babri Masjid had by then got converted into a de facto mandir. Now, after 18 years, that criminal act has been glorified and celebrated by the sanction of the court. I am just waiting for the Babri Masjid demolition accused to be merrily acquitted. Glory be to our law system! Glory be to our constitutional position holders!   Is ‘Action’ in BMAC inclusive of reconstruction, construction and its legal aspects too?
If it encompasses these attributes then I stand by it but not without a thorough discussion on it.

Tell us as to how do you see the last three decades?
Kusht-to-khoon aur qatl-o-gharat (massacres, murder, mayhem, killings and death) is the hallmark of the last three decades. Muslims in India have been the high targets of the whole State apparatus. Batla House fake encounter and then the Delhi Court sanction to the National Human Right Commission report on it is a monument of the majoritarian democracy. Muslims are only to be sacrificed at the altar of national security. Terrorism is their coveted sobriquet. The case of rape and murder at Shopian, Kashmir, by security forces, is to haunt our democracy. A cooked-up Commission report to absolve security forces, then a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), nation’s stamp on it, and then the irony that the case will be now investigated by NHRC, an organisation already tainted in Batla House fake encounter case, is all what can be offered to Muslims standing asunder. I recommend “Buried Evidence”, a report on around 8,000 unclaimed graves in Kashmir to be a part of every human rights library in the country. There are a growing number of missing boys from Azamgarh, UP, too. The State is the same for Muslims, whether it be Kashmir, Kozhikode or Azamgarh. I am not being pessimistic but realistic by stating just some of the recent incidences. There has been no solace whatsoever. The Sept. 30 verdict has now come full circle. Muslims have lost their total faith. Total alienation has now been forced on us.   Can you further explain this?
After the Sept. 30 verdict, I am wondering if Muslims had done it right to stay back in India in 1947? When a suit is to be decided on account of 900,000 years of faith, then what else is left now? I was a great admirer of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad who had opposed Partition. I am now rethinking and re-evaluating my opinion. If Muslims were to stay in a religious Hindu State, then they should have opted for the religious Islamic State. This verdict has bulldozed everything of what India had stood for in 1947. The idea of secular India has been blown to smithereens. I wish Muslims wake up from their self-induced slumber. The sooner the better.

What future do you envisage for the law in the country now?
No masjid is now safe in the country. And, now any day, there can be yet another petition, for deletion of certain verses from holy Quran. In the past there had been such applications but were rejected by courts. But, now anything can happen. Muslims should get prepared for the Armageddon

Lastly, these days you are again being courted by Mulayam Singh Yadav?
He has said that I was with him since the days of the struggle. Is this done to a friend and comrade? Today, I am contesting 54 cases against me. I had opposed the induction of Kalyan Singh, the villain of Babri Masjid demolition, into SP, and today he stands outside the party. That is my victory. None of Yadav’s Muslim candidates could win the last Parliament elections. Muslims discarded them. That was yet again my victory. Let’s see as to how the modalities work. I appreciate Yadav’s statement after Sept. 30 that Muslims have been cheated, but that statement also needs a follow up. That is not supposed to be for votes. Mulayam Singh Yadav needs to prove his political credibility. I have come to know that my expulsion has been revoked. On this issue I have given the responsibility to my Majlis-e-Mushawarat, which consists of professors and which would give its report in ten days. I would abide by their verdict.

One notion being said, particularly after Sept. 30, is that India has moved on?
Moved on? At whose cost? India has been moved-off. Blank, bleak and for the darkness ahead. God save India!