oppn parties Ayodhya Verdict: Test By Fire For India

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  • In reply to a question in Parliament, the government says it is empowered to lawfully intercept, monitor or decrpyt information stored in a computer resource in the interest of sovereignty or integrity of India
  • Police stop a 12-year old girl on her way to the Sabarimala shrine
  • In Karnataka, the JD(S) indicates that it might support the BJP government if it falls short of numbers after the bypolls
  • Congress pips the BJP in local body elections in Rajasthan, winning 961 wards to the BJPs 737
  • After Airtel and Vodafone-Idea, Jio also indicates that tariffs will be raised from December
  • Sources in Shiv Sena say that they might revive the alliance with the BJP if it offers the 50:50 deal
  • A miffed Sanjay Rout of the Shiv Sena says that it will take "100 births" to understand Sharad Pawar
  • Mobile operators Vodafone-Idea and Airtel decide to raise tariffs from next month
  • Sharad Pawar meets Sonia Gandhi and says more time needed for government formation in Maharashtra
  • Justice S A Bobde sworn in as the 47th Chief Justice of India
  • Supreme Court holds hotels liable for theft of vehicle from their parking area if parked by valet, says "owner's risk" clause is not a shield from such liability
  • Finance Minister says she is receiving feedback from many sectors that recovery is happening as there is lower stress
  • Sabarimala temple opens, but police bar the entry of women below 50 years
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says Air India and BPCL to be sold off by March
  • Media person Rajat Sharma resigns as DDCA president
Two Muslim litigants in Ayodhya refuse to accept the Supreme Court order, say review petition might be filed
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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.