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Bull's Eye

On January 15, The Indian Express columnist Francois Gautier wrote: "Yet, one should remember that the Hindu 'fundamentalists' did not kill a single soul ...

Bull's Eye
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On January 15, The Indian Express columnist Francois Gautier wrote: "Yet, one should remember that the Hindu 'fundamentalists' did not kill a single soul in Ayodhya." Gautier displays amazing ignorance for one presuming to comment on the subject. The Express displays amazing irresponsibility by allowing such inaccuracy to appear on its edit page.

For 70 hours after the demolition, the kar sevaks went berserk. Over 20 Muslim residents, mostly sympathetic to the Ram temple, were killed. Houses were burnt.

The government launched two prosecutions. First, for the conspiracy to demolish the mosque. For this, 42 leaders, including three cabinet ministers, were accused. Secondly, for the arson, rioting and murder that followed. The leaders were accused for involvement in the demolition. They were not charged for incitement to murder and rioting. Even though the same mob of kar sevaks, listening to the same speeches, led by the same leaders, committed both the crimes. So much for Indian justice.

A formal ruling by the special judge in the demolition case has been delayed for years because the cabinet ministers concerned have continued to avoid appearing in court. In the rioting and arson case, 35 kar sevaks were accused and rounded up. No evidence was found. They were released and the case was closed. Once more, so much for Indian justice! Last week from Kumbhnagar, Paramhans Ramchandra Das stated on behalf of the vhp, Bajrang Dal and rss: "I challenge the government. If it does not hand over the land to build the temple by March 2002, we will occupy the land and begin construction."

This is a declaration of war. It is open defiance of the Indian State. Now it will not be enough for the prime minister to dissociate himself from the statement. The bjp must dissociate itself from the Sangh parivar.

Before the Vajpayee government was sworn in after the last election, this column had predicted that it would not be threatened by the opposition or the allies but by the rss. The moment of truth has come.

Now it is for the PM to decide. He can assert the authority of the State. Or he can consign himself to the dustbin of history. The vhp is anti-Hindu, anti-Indian and anti-national. It contains criminals remote-controlled from abroad. If the government won't act to protect the nation, the people of India will.

It's tragic and odd
That men invoke God
To cheapen their religion
For political ambition!

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