VHP?s rewind tactics
The VHP is up to its old mischief again. It is travelling down the same road as at the same time last year, when it threatening to begin construction of the Ayodhya temple.india Updated: Feb 21, 2003 17:02 IST
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad is up to its old mischief again. It is travelling down the same road as at the same time last year, when it caused serious concern about law and order by threatening to begin construction of the Ayodhya temple.
The situation was defused last year via the so-called shila dan ceremony, suggesting a symbolic official acceptance of its credentials for building the temple. But it is unlikely that any such tricks can work this time. As before, the government is considering requesting the Supreme Court to allow construction on the ‘undisputed’ portions of the land. But this will obviously be the thin end of the wedge. Once the construction starts, the Sangh parivar will ensure that it advances rapidly towards the ‘disputed’ site, presenting the judiciary and the country with a fait accompli.
The BJP may not be averse to such a devious gameplan since the ploy will be in keeping with its latest aggressive Gujarat model of Hindutva. Little wonder that the party’s president in Uttar Pradesh, Vinay Katiyar, has admitted that the BJP has asked him to create a ‘1991-like situation’ which led, first, to the Babri masjid’s demolition and then, to the party’s spectacular electoral success. Mr Katiyar’s comment a few days ago about the Varanasi and Mathura ‘temples’ are also noteworthy in this context. It shows that these shrines are not as much outside the BJP’s ‘agenda’ as the party claims. After Ayodhya, these can be exploited to keep the communal fires burning.
There is reason to be perturbed, therefore, about the VHP’s forthcoming dharam sansad. If it renews its call for temple construction, there will be a revival of tension and uncertainty about communal peace. The only saving grace is that Ms Mayawati may not be amenable to the VHP’s provocative tactics as they will antagonise her Muslim supporters. The BJP, too, will not like to annoy her at the moment since the party wants to use its alliance with the BSP to its own electoral advantage. The BJP, therefore, may advice caution to the VHP. But the latter is not an outfit which listens to reason.
First Published: Feb 21, 2003 12:40 IST