The most visible Muslim face of the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, Mohd Azam Khan, launched a surprising attack on party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav over the latter’s meeting on Saturday with Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal, who Khan said was among the chief architects of the Babri Masjid demolition.
This is the first time since parting ways with SP (Khan re-joined SP just before 2012 polls) that Khan has targeted Mulayam in this fashion.
Khan had left the party after Mulayam’s brief tryst with former chief minister Kalyan Singh who was the UP CM when the Babri Masjid was demolished.
"This meeting and the hype it got has reopened the wounds of Muslims who are still coming to terms with Babri demolition,” he said in Lucknow on Monday.
He also questioned the reported consent Mulayam had given to a delegation of mostly-Ayodhya saints, BJP and VHP leaders on Saturday about agreeing to mediate with Muslims for the temple cause.
“It has been reported that Mulayam Singhji accepted the VHP invite to mediate with Muslims on the issue. If that is true I wish to make it clear that only sort of mediation that the Muslims would be ready for is mediation for reconstruction of Babri mosque,” he said.
Call it coincidence or a bid to placate the mercurial Khan, but within hours of Khan’s outburst against his own party chief, Mulayam’s Samajwadi Party hurriedly announced a ban on the VHP sponsored 20-day chaurasi kos yatra at Ayodhya over which Singhal had led a saffron delegation to Mulayam ostensibly seeking clearance for the yatra.
The VHP had planned a massive build-up for the chaurasi-kos in Ayodhya and had sent invites to saints from across the country to attend the yatra that was to start from September 25.
“Expecting any decency from those who felled the Babri mosque would be fool hardy. That’s why I don’t understand the reason for Mulayam’s meeting with Singhal. At least the manner in which the details of the meeting came out in the media has certainly made Muslims wonder if such importance to leaders like Singhal was required at all,” Khan said.
In his typical style, he said due to Mulayam and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s meeting with Singhal’s delegation, the CM’s pre-decided press briefing on the issue of UP’s development was delayed by two hours.
He also claimed that it was only after the Babri demolition that the “country witnessed the use of RDX, AK-47 and suicide bombers.
Communal riots began soon after that in which Muslims suffered loss of lives. Several Muslim women were raped and then of course the Gujarat riots happened.
“I hope that Mulayam Singhji won’t compromise with his secular image that he has so assiduously built after years of toil and hard work,” he said.