oppn parties Ayodhya Verdict: Test By Fire For India

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  • Special DG (Training) in CRPF, S N Shrivastava, appointed special commissioner (law & order) in Delhi Police in order to quell the violence. He is also expected to take over as chief of Delhi police once Amulya Patnaik's term ends on February 29
  • Curfew and shoot at sight orders reportedly in force in some areas, but Delhi Police HQ does not issue a notice for the same
  • The Central government has pressed paramilitary forces to control the riots in Delhi
  • Mobs in Delhi target journalists, check them for religious identity and snatch equipment
  • 13 people deal until now in one of the worst spells of violence in Delhi
  • Violence in Delhi shows no signs of abating with fresh areas in the north-eastern part of the capital coming under its grip
  • Delhi High Court says DGCA was wrong in approving the flying ban on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra by airlines other than Indigo for his alleged misbehavior with TV anchor Arnab Goswami aboard an Indigo flight
  • The Bihar assembly passes a resolution to stick to the old NPR form, making it the first NDA state to do so
  • Arms deal for advanced helicopters, worth $3bn, signed with the US, but the trade deal remains elusive
  • Trump says he has a good equation with Pak PM Imran Khan and assures India that Pakistan is working to reduce cross border terrorism
  • Trump once again offers to mediate in the Kashmir issue
  • Trump says it is up to India to decide on the CAA
  • US President Donald Trump says PM Modi wants religious freedom for all
  • US President Donald Trump lands in Ahmedabad, received at the airport by Prime Minister Modi
  • US President Donald Trump to land in India today
Continuing violence in Delhi takes the sheen off the visit by US President Donald Trump
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Ayodhya Verdict: Test By Fire For India

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

The Supreme Court will deliver the verdict in the Ayodhya land dispute case, which has a direct bearing on the vexed Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi issue, any day this week. Although the court will obviously decide the matter on the basis of facts presented and arguments made before it, the verdict is likely to antagonize the community against which it goes. Both parties have said that they will respect the verdict, but that is easier said than done. For, there are hotheads in both communities who have for long adhered to the inflexible position that says for the Muslims that the Babri Masjid must be reconstructed at the same spot while for the Hindus that the Mandir must be made after razing the mosque completely and also at the same spot ("mandir wahin banayenge" has been their war cry).

Politicians, religious leaders, elders and social activists of both communities have already started the process to ensure that the social fabric is not shredded post the verdict. There have appeals by imams from mosques that the verdict must be respected at all costs. Muslims have been advised neither to protest if the verdict goes against them nor to celebrate if it is in their favour. The RSS has also said that it has no plans to celebrate if the verdict goes in favour of the Hindus. It has also canceled all its events for November as it might either be misinterpreted or provide an opportunity for the congregation to indulge in mischief.

As is correct, the BJP and the RSS have reached out to the Muslim community ahead of the verdict. In a meeting held at the home of the Union Minorities affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Hindu and Muslim leaders pledged not to have any "junooni jashn" or "haar ka hungama" after the verdict. The meeting was attended by RSS leaders Krishna Gopal and Ramlal, BJP's Shanawaz Hussain, Jamait-Ulema-e-Hind general secretary Mahmood Madani, filmmaker Muzaffar Ali and prominent Shia cleric Maulana Syed Kalbe Jawad, among others. Jawad later said that the nation is above all and peace and harmony between the communities must be maintained at all costs. The government will also tighten security, in Ayodhya and all over the country, to prevent major flare-ups.

But one small spark is all that is needed to create an atmosphere of madness and barbarity. The way Indians behave after the verdict will show if they have matured enough not to allow their biases and religious intolerance to come in the way of the legal process. It will show whether Indians have become civil enough to respect the law and convince others to do the same. It will also prove if the elders and the main organizations of both communities have enough clout to rein in the hotheads. It is a testing time for the social, secular democracy that India is. Let us hope good sense prevails and peace and harmony are maintained.