It is necessary to remember that the BJP is the only party in modern times to focus on the desecration of religious sites since the Nazis burnt Jewish synagogue in Germany in the 1930s. It is of prime importance to the BJP, therefore, to remove the 1991 law from the statute book. The first step in this direction has been taken with a Varanasi court directing the Archaeological Survey to “find out whether the religious structure standing at present at the disputed site is a superimposition, alteration or addition or there is a structural overlapping of any kind with or over any religious structure”.
In other words, the court wants the Archaeological Survey to ascertain whether anything remains of the ancient temple which was “ruined”, as the petition has said, by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1669 to build a mosque.
The similarity with the Babri episode is obvious. For one, the description of the site under judicial scanner as disputed, as in the earlier case, is intended to cast a shadow on the mosque’s legitimacy. For another, there is the presupposition that a temple did exist under the mosque. And, for a third, an archaeological investigation was carried out in the case of the Babri “structure” as well, but its conclusions were inconclusive. While one report claimed that a temple did exist, two other archaeologists differed.
It is anybody’s guess what the latest inquiry into the Varanasi case will reveal. But that is besides the point. For the BJP, all that matters is that the ball has been set rolling to bring Aurangzeb’s mosque into the limelight, thereby raising the communal temperature and presenting the party as the protector of Hindu pride. The saffron brotherhood observes the day of the demolition of the Babri masjid as saurya divas (the day of glory). Is the country waiting for Babri 2.0 ?
(IPA Service. Views are personal)