Islamic experts: no to the political exploitation of the Ayodhya mosque
by Nirmala Carvalho
Asgar Ali Engineer doubts that the parliamentary debate on the allegations against BJP leaders will bring any results . He invites Muslims and Hindus not to follow "aggressive and ambitious ringleaders " and work for education, development and secularism.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The parliamentary debate on the destruction of the mosque in Ayodhya and on those responsible for massacres is in danger of being politically manipulated for the benefit of ambitious party leaders, without helping to understand the real problems between Hindu and Muslim communities or safeguarding the secular nature of the country. Speaking to AsiaNews Muslim intellectual Asgar Ali Engineer, Chairman of the Center for Study of Society and Secularism, comments on the Liberhan report into the Hindu extremists attack on the mosque of Babar, or Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992 ( photo).

The Indian parliament is preparing to discuss the findings of the Inquiry Commission that accused the leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party of direct responsibility in the affair (see AsiaNews, 25/11/2009, "BJP leaders blamed for the destruction of the Ayodhya mosque" ). Engineer, well known in India for his struggle for human rights in Islam, says: "Both sides will try to use the Liberhan report to their advantage. Nothing will happen to the criminals who demolished Babri Masjid and whoa are already planning new attacks. This is the greatest tragedy: the politicisation of  the issue for electoral purposes without anything happening to the leaders meaning that crimes can continue to be committed with impunity in the country".  

Engineer believes that top leaders of the BJP were directly involvement in the events of Ayodhya. Lalchand Kishen Advani, the current opposition leader in parliament, "is the main culprit and should already have been tried years ago."

The political use of the Babri Masjid demolition was at the basis of the same violent events in 1992. For this reason the Islamic scholar hopes that after 17 years of fierce and sterile controversy, "Hindu and Muslim leaders understand that aggressive and ambitious people do not represent the true interests of the people. They represent their own interests or those of political or socio-economic powers. Exploiting their religious traditions for political purposes and aggressively so. Both communities are unfortunately victims of the violent propaganda of these ambitious leaders. The problem will worsen unless steps are taken to limit their ambitions. "    

President of the Center for Study of Society and Secularism affirms that "it is not enough to shun sterile debates to strengthen common peace, we must show a positive attitude." He adds that "Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party and Samajwadi Party are not doing anything to rebuild the Babri Masjid."

The Muslim intellectual advocates a common commitment to the Hindu and Muslim communities. Engineer recalls that the Muslims now, "rather than fighting for Babri Masjid, are focusing more on problems of education, economic progress and development”. He asks the "Hindus who support secularism" to "fight for justice. If they are loyal they must undertake to mend the fabric of secular coexistence in India”.