In a welcome development, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has made a passionate appeal for maintaining peace and communal harmony ahead of the Supreme Court verdict on the keenly awaited Ayodhya dispute. The RSS has said that the apex court verdict should be wholeheartedly accepted by everyone and has also stated that it is everybody’s responsibility to ensure that harmony is maintained in the country. In its key meeting at Delhi, the RSS has taken another commendable decision of not taking out celebratory processions in case the Ayodhya verdict goes in the favour of the Hindus.
In its initiative to main peace and harmony, the RSS has appealed everyone to “respect the verdict, whichever way it comes” and to “maintain peace and harmony” across the country. This is actually a very mature approach that the RSS has taken with respect of the Ayodhya verdict, a sensitive issue closely connected to the faith and sentiments of crores of people in the country.
The RSS co-ordination committee took the decision of “no celebratory marches” in the case of a favourable verdict at this meeting that was attended by key functionaries such as RSS chief, Mohan Bhagwat, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) core group and heads of RSS affiliated bodies. It has been decided that the VHP and the RSS affiliates will also not take out any celebratory marches, if the apex court verdict on the sensitive issue goes in favour of the Hindu community.
The crucial meeting that has taken a big step towards maintaining peace and harmony was also attended by the top BJP leadership including Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, BJP working President, JP Nadda and General Secretary (Organisation), BL Santosh.
Originally the meeting was supposed to take place in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, but the RSS changed the venue and also took the decision of cancelling all major events ahead of the verdict on the Ayodhya dispute. Apart from deciding against taking out any celebratory processions, another key decision of backing a nation-wide NRC on the basis of the Assam-NRC model to drive out illegal immigrants was taken at the meeting.
By appealing for communal peace and harmony ahead of the Ayodhya verdict, and also setting a good example by deciding not to take out any celebratory marches, if the Ayodhya verdict comes out in the favour of the Hindus, the RSS has taken a commendable initiative. Although it may seem prudish to many, given the contentiousness of the issue, communal tensions and violent riots are a tendency and it is the last thing that the country wants.
The Ayodhya dispute is a sensitive matter and as stated earlier it is closely connected to the faith of crores of people across the country. The 1990s witnessed extensive riots across several states and the death toll ran into hundreds. It is up to the parties to the dispute to ensure that no violence takes place, whichever way the verdict goes. In such a situation, it ought to be appreciated that the RSS has taken the first step in the right direction.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Cr.P.C. have been reportedly imposed in Ayodhya. It is clear that the local administration understands the possible implications of the Ayodhya verdict. Any act of violence can potentially drag Ayodhya, the birthplace of Lord Ram, into widespread communal tensions and even violent riots. Though it is Ayodhya that bears and the direct risk of communal riots, its reverberations might be felt beyond Ayodhya too given the sentiments and emotions attached with this issue.
The RSS has therefore taken the step of initiating peace given the delicate situation that we are in. It must be noted that in the past the Muslim parties seem to have given a veiled threat when they argued before the apex court that whichever way the verdict goes, it would shape India’s policy and impact future generations. The approach that the Muslim parties took was not to appeal for calm and peace, rather they tried to argue before the Supreme Court as to what all negative consequences the verdict could entail.
Now, it is upon the Muslim parties to reciprocate and make an equally passionate appeal for maintaining peace. The Muslim parties should also come out making it clear that even if the verdict goes in the favour of Hindus, peace will be maintained, especially because the RSS and affiliated organisations have taken the approach of not taking any celebratory marches in case the verdict comes out in favour of the Hindu community, despite the fact that the Hindu parties have been involved in a legal battle for more than a 100 years in this dispute.