Mumbai (AsiaNews) – “This is a step in the right direction", said Fr Cedric Prakash, SJ, director of the Jesuit Prashant Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace in Ahmedabad.
Fr Prakash spoke to AsiaNews after the Supreme Court of India issued notices to leading members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in connection with a "criminal conspiracy” to demolish the Babri Masjid (Babur mosque) in Ayodhya.
On 6 December 1992, some 150,000 Hindu extremists from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) attacked and demolished the Babri Masjid (pictured).
According to Hindus, the old mosque stood on the ruins of a temple dedicated to the god Ram. This action led to riots pitting Hindus against Muslims across the country.
Chief Justice HL Dattu issued notices on a plea filed by Haji Mahboob Ahmad, one of the petitioners in the Babri mosque case, against a ruling by the Allahabad High Court dropping criminal conspiracy charges against right-wingers involved in the demolition of the Babri mosque.
In 2011, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) expressed doubts about the ruling, judging it "inconsistent with the previous judgment rendered by the Allahabad high court on February 12, 2001". However, according to Ahmad, the CBI took a softer line against BJP leaders after the party came to power in New Delhi.
"The demolition of the Babri Masjid 6 December 1992,” Fr Prakash told AsiaNews, “is a stain on the country’s secular and pluralistic character.”
For the Jesuit clergyman, “The government of the time should have done everything possible to bring to trial those responsible for this despicable act. Even the Supreme Court could have acted on its own."
“What will come of these notices is anybody's guess,” he said. “However, despite the time that has gone by, it is never too late for the cause of justice to be served”.
Now, “The people of India will be waiting for the Supreme Court to act decisively in this matter and thereby ensure that the generations to come will be able to live without fear in a free, tolerant and pluralistic India".