On the 23 anniversary of the Babri masjid demolition, Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e Ittehadul Muslimeen called for Hyderabad bandh. The party has been protesting against the 1992 demolition of by calling a bandh every year.
On the other hand, Bajrang Dal, an organisation that was actively involved in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, called for renewal of the campaign and asked that 6 December be celebrated as Shaurya Divas. The chief of its parent organisation Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Ashok Singhal, breathed his last last month. The RSS has stated that a Ram temple would be a true tribute to Singhal's legacy.
This clash of ideas from the political sphere raises the question of whether Indian politics seems to be going back to a phase of extreme religious polarisation and intolerance.
Catch spoke to AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi and sought his views on the issue.
After 23 years of demolition, does it stand correct to protest by calling a bandh and giving a religious color to politics?
The demolition of Babri mosque was an act of vandalism. Despite giving assurance to Apex court, the state govt headed by the BJP had failed miserably in their constitutional duty and one cannot forget such vulgar acts of vandalism. Just because 23 years have passed, it is more important to remember it because even after so much time the perpetrators have not been sentenced. Also, accused like Uma Bharti are now heading the ministry of cleaning river Ganga. It is not a question only for Muslims but for the school of law.
If the cases are pending then don't you think it would be better to give more importance to legal battle and refrain from politicising the issue?
You have to remember the vandalism, the conversion of the mosque into a temple in broad daylight and that wherever the rathyatra went it created bloodshed. Also, the people who were involved have now come in power and have been bestowed with the Padma Vibhushan. All the governments have failed in taking action. The Mumbai bomb blasts accused have been convicted then why not in this case? It is important to remember the incident not just for Muslims but for the entire nation.
But isn't AIMIM doing the same thing by adding a religious tint to politics?
Did I come into power by demolishing a temple? Is AIMIM asking for temples to be converted into mosques?
But your brother (Akbaruddin Owaisi) has made similar communal statements.
Yes, the case is pending in the court. But what about the people shouting outrageous statements on 6 December and calling for the demolition of the Babri masjid? Those people have not been arrested. My brother had been in jail for two months and he came back and surrendered.
Are you saying that Akbaruddin never made such remarks after returning from jail?
I am not going to comment on it and it is for the courts of law to decide. I am saying that there have been many politicians and non-political leaders who have made such statements and none of them have been arrested. The gravity of the Babri mosque demolition cannot be compared with what I had said or anyone else had said.