Ayodhya verdict: Hindus-Muslims dial D for dialogue

Updated: Nov 06, 2019, 08:04 IST | Hemal Ashar | Mumbai

Community leaders push for peace as Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute judgment day nears

Dialogue through understanding
Dialogue through understanding

The clock is ticking with the Supreme Court verdict on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute expected by November 17. As Ayodhya gears up for judgment day, of the several directives issued by the district magistrate, one asks people not to make defamatory remarks against any religion, community, deities and eminent personalities on social media platforms.

Get talking

In Mumbai various groups are following a different trajectory, appealing for peace ahead of the verdict. On the night of November 4, members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and its youth brigade, the Bajrang Dal, met Muslim activists and representatives of organisations, for an informal discussion. The meet, which was held at a Goregaon school, had about 15 participants.

Those who attended the meet, said that it was, "an informal meeting simply to chart out how together we can tell the Hindu and Muslim communities to accept the mandir/masjid verdict with calm and equanimity."

It was a breakthrough of sorts. For some Muslim participants it was the first time that they were interacting with VHP members. M A Khalid, general secretary, All India Milli Council, a Muslim non-profit, claimed, "The interaction broke stereotypes. Many Muslims had the preconceived notion of the VHP being bullies, who use violence. This meet chipped away at those misplaced beliefs. Even they had some notions about Muslims being uncultured and uncouth. That changed when both realised the innate goodness of human nature."

Khalid said, rather poetically, that a bouquet "looks and smells good when there are flowers of different hues in the bunch. India is a bouquet, with diversity bringing colour and fragrance."

He said the medium of spreading the message of peace, "will be verbal. We have started speaking to the community, stressing that the judgment has to be accepted." He further stated that they would have another meeting with representatives of political parties across the board on the importance of "emphasising that law and order prevails post judgment."

Same page

For Shriraj Nair, national spokesperson, VHP, "The meet shows that we were on the same page, we all want peace. In fact the VHP has been talking about peace all through this imbroglio. We as leaders have responsibilities to adhere to not only in challenging times, but all throughout."

Firoze Mithibowala, representing the Muslims, said that it would be good "if there are no overt demonstrations post judgment. No victory rallies, no 'taunting' of those who seem to have 'lost'."

He further said, "We have to talk to each other for all solutions. We see positive messages from Masjid loudspeakers. Similarly, RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat has called for peace and harmony." Mithiborwala took heart from the "very cordial talks" and said they should act as a springboard, "to how we are going to go about spreading the sentiment. This issue has been mentally and emotionally draining for citizens. A dignified, respectful response must greet the verdict. We will spread the message through media and social media too. This is not the last of our meets. We will have more," finished the Bharat Bachao Andolan activist.

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