An Open Letter to Chief Justice

You know more than any one else in the world that In dian constitutional polity treats all citizens equally irrespective of their race, creed, religion, language, culture and gender. But the observation of the Bench (consisting Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer) headed by you in the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid title case that the issue is primarily not about the disputed 2.77 acres of Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya, but about "religious sentiments" and the was looking at a "possibility of healing relationship". The religions of the parties were not named but it was clear that Supreme Court Bench meant to heal relationship between Hindus and Muslims. Such a stand presents serious dangerous to the principles of Rule of Law or Due Process of Law on which Indian Constitution is based.

Sir, meditation recourse on the plea that "religious sentiments" are involved would lead India to theocracy. Fortunately, in the past Supreme Court never raised this iuuse while delivering historic judgements in favour of women and punishing perpetrators of carnages in 1984 and 2002. When the victims approach your esteemed highest court of justice in India, they do not approach you as persons of majority or minority, but as Indian citizens who have been wronged. Regarding the present case, I would draw your kind attention to the following facts.

The title dispute has been brought before esteemed Supreme Court as Babri Mosque was demolished on December 6, 1992 by an illegal assembly of Hindutva zealots gathered in Ayodhya by the RSS and its fratenal organisations after a long polarising bloody campaign of hatred against Muslims. It was not and is not an issue between Hindus and Muslims. It is between Hindutva organisation and democratic-scholar Indian polity. The mosque was demolished despite orders of the Supreme Court, assurances by the RSS/BJP leaders to Indian Parliament and the then PM Narsimha Ras. Rao gave solemn promised both to the Parliament and Indian nation (from the ramparts of Reb Fort on August 15, 1993) that wrong, would be undone and the demolished Mosque would be built as its original site.

Sir, I want to draw your attention to the fact that treating this case as a fight between Hindus and Muslims, the highest court of justice of India is insulting vast majority of Indian Hindus, who did not subscribe to the Hindutva brand of politics and did not join the demolition campaign. The RSS/BJP after demolition of the mosque at Ayodhya believed that their electoral future was secure. However, the enlightened and secular Hindu voters rebuffed the Hindutva politics of hate by defeating BJP not only in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan even in Uttar Pradesh assembly election but also in 2004 national elections.

Sir, under your headship the Supreme Court (SC) appointed three mediators to arrange a compromise between Hindus and Muslims. The penal is headed by Justice (retired) Fakkir Mohammad Ebrahim Ealifulla (one of his landmark jugements related to the ordering of introduction of Vedic astrology as a course of scientific study in Indian universities as a Justice of the Supreme Court) and includes Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (a spiritual guru popular with the Arab rulers) and a legal meditation expert, lawyer Sriram Panchu (President of Indian Association of Mediators and Director of International Meditation Institute). There has been no explation from the Supreme Court Bench regarding the criteria relying on which this slection has been made. It seems that these mediators are not representing religious communities but are neutral persons who are expected to come out with an objective and honest resolution.

Respected Sir, let me draw your kind attention to the highly questionable past and present of this spiritual guru. Sri Sri Ravishankar (not content having One Sri in his name) which makes his selection as mediator in the Babri mosque/Ram temple conflict a shocking choice.

Sir, this baba is not a neutral 'mediator'. He is an old pal of RSS which was responsible for demolition of mosque at Ayodhay on December 6, 1992. He has been attending all major programmes of RSS and Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Sri Sri's modus operandi, operations, gimmicks and close connections with RSS have been recorded by a renowned South Asia expert and journalist in his book, In Spite of the Gods, The Strange Rise of Modern India, according to him.

"Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has a reputation for being a mystic and liberal. What is less widely known on the guruji's close attachment to the RSS. He has share platforms with VHP leaders at public meetings. I asked him whether the Ram Temple should be built in Ayodhya. 'Suppose', he said, 'that it was the birthplace of Jesus or Mohammed. What would you have done? Would you have tolerated another structure on the site? Let us build a temple to Ram and let the Muslims make this gesture as an act of goodwill and then the temple will also belong to Allah and to all Muslims'."

Respected Sir, this guru is RSS frontman as would be clear from an aneedote shared by Edward Luce. According to him when he did a stroy after visiting this guru's palatial ashram at Bangalore.

"A few week later received a telephone call from Ram Madhav, the national spokesman of the RSS. 'I am calling about Sri Sri Ravi Shankar', said Madhav. 'I was talking to him the other day and he said he was disappeared with your article in the Financial Times. You only quoted his views on politics and the Shankaracharya. He said he was hoping you would quote his views on tolerance and spiritualism. It is true my article had lacked space to quote the guruji's opinions on other matters. But I was surprised the guruji should have chosen the RSS—of all organisations—to convey his complaint'."

Honourable Chief Justice of India, it was 2007, when guru Sri Sri took the above stand in favour of building temple at the place where mosque stood. With the passage of time this stand got more hardend. In March 2018 in an interview to a leading Indian periodical demanded that Muslims should "give up" their claims on Ayodhya and warned that if it was not done it would lead to a situation like Syrian civil war. From his blatant threat it was not difficult to understand who would play the role of defender of religion in India which Islamic State plays in Syria. Despite sounding as a believer in the negotiated settlement be did not forget to warn the courts, "Can any government remove Ram Lala from where he is now, even if the SC says so?"

Honourable Chief Justice Sir, I would beg that keep away the highest court of Justice of the country from mingling with the communal narrative of the Hindutva gang about demolition of a mosque at Ayodhya in 1992. It has nothing to do with religion but a political issue which ruling parties of India have kept lingering on for electoral gains. It has come to courts including the Supreme Court for criminal and civil reliefs. The judiciary should decide the issue guided only by the principles enshrnied in the democratic-secular Constitution of India. It should not bother to keep any section in good humour.

Sir, I hope despite your enormously busy schedule, my request would be taken note of.

Yours sincerely
Shamsul Islam

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Vol. 52, No. 17, Oct 27 - Nov 2, 2019