Dalit group to ‘spearhead reconstruction of Babri Masjid’

January 16, 2013 by  
Filed under India, New Delhi, newsletter-india

Bhai Tej Singh, President of Ambedkar Samaj Party

Bhai Tej Singh, President of Ambedkar Samaj Party

New Delhi, January 14, 2013: A Dalit group plans to start the movement afresh for the reconstruction of the Babri Masjid at Ayodhya. Babari Masjid Navnirman Sena (Army for Babari Masjid Reconstruction), a group of ‘awakened’ Ambedkarite youths, as they would like to identify themselves, plan to organize the support of Dalits for “helping Muslim brethren rebuild the Babari mosque.”

Cadres of Bahujan Swayam Sewak Sanghathan (BSS) and its political front Ambedkar Samaj Party (ASP) had a condolence meeting on December 6, last year, that is, on the eve of 56th death anniversary of Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar and 20th anniversary of demolition of Babari Masjid. In the meeting they discussed how for past 20 years the demise day of Dalit icon, Dr BR Ambedkar has become a ‘victory day’ for Hindutva forces and thus what would have been otherwise a day of sorrow is celebrated by them. BSS cadres have hence given a new slogan: “Dalit ki majboori hai, Babri masjid zaruri hai” (Dalits are compulsion bound to rebuild the Babari mosque).

Speaking to TCN, Bhai Tej Singh, commander-in-chief of BSS and President of ASP said, “Dalits and Muslims have common enemy – right wing Hindutva forces. For thousands of years they burnt our houses, misbehaved with our daughters and made sure that we live a subhuman life. Same forces were behind the demolition of Babari mosque and Gujarat pogrom in 2002,” adding, “it is now important that together we defeat them.”

In the same meeting, it was discussed that Muslims in India are not foreigners, who “came either from Arab, Iran, but are aboriginal to this land,” who only got themselves “liberated from the clutches of Hinduism by embracing Islam,” which they regard as the “noble religion of compassion, equality and fraternity.” They also discussed the current ‘deplorable’ situation of the Muslim community, whose representation has been reduced to minimum in government positions and are seen with suspicion by security agencies. Tej Singh argues that like several Dalit leaders, Muslims leaders too have largely failed the community and no one dares to take “bold stand, lest they lose out their positions.”

These ‘Ambedkarite youths’ also concluded that like several Dalit political leaders Muslim leadership too have largely failed the community as no one dares to take “bold stand, lest they lose out their positions.” They have hence taken it upon themselves to help ‘Muslim brethren’ restore their dignity.

Bhai Tej Singh, who was the Chief Guest at the meeting, recommended the name of Babri Masjid Navnirman Sena (BMNS) and also suggested that they should encourage each Dalit family to have ‘friendship with at least one Muslim family’ to “know them better.”

The congregation also decided to have a full fledged “Dalit organisation which should exclusively endeavor for the restoration of human dignity and prestige of the Muslims and extend their helping hand to their Muslim brethren for the reconstruction of the prestigious Babari Mosque on the same site at Ayodhya.”

The group has also taken upon themselves to “ensure the safety, security of the Muslims and help creating an atmosphere worth living.” In last one month, they have started appointing district level cadres in Uttar Pradesh and have started the wall writings in Dalit villages of Bijnor mobilising them towards the “need to rebuild the Babri mosque.”

“In event of any sort of inconvenience or hindrances towards smooth reconstruction of mosque, BMNS shall not hesitate in using force of its volunteers at its disposal by virtue of the ‘mass movement’ of Dalits and Muslims generated for the purpose” one of the objectives of this newly formed group reads.

It is not just the reconstruction of the mosque they want to lend hands in, but want Muslim community to live in harmony and with dignity. They also propose to start a campaign for adequate representation of Muslims in jobs and education and to make Urdu “second national language of the country and persuade Government to make it mandatory to get it included in the curriculum of academic studies at School and college level.”

But will it all materialise towards something concrete or are these mere political stunts by a breakaway Dalit party getting desperate to win over Muslim ‘vote bank’?

Patron of BMNS, Tej Singh vehemently trashes this and says that he has been organising campaigns and movements against Hindutva forces since 1998 and has even gone to jail in 1998 while leading a rally from Delhi towards Ayodhya against the RSS plan of starting construction of temple at the mosque site publicly declaring, “We shall not allow building of Ram Temple at the debris of Babari Masjid.”

He adds that he was one of the first people to organize a seminar, along with some others, at the Constitution Club in 1999 on “Hindu terrorism.” Elaborating on his future plans, Tej Singh says that he plans to hold a big rally in the coming month for the cause.

But how has the Muslim community, and groups responded? Tej Singh laments that although privately they all appreciate my efforts no group appears to come forward for the cause. He appeals that he has been fighting the Hindutva forces for over 30 years and that he would be happy to serve the Muslim community as well. He says, “Muslims should come forward and use or misuse my and BSS resources to their advantages as we are fighting a common enemy.”

– tcn

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