“In every democratic country, politicians’ freedom and power are defined by the constitution and, of course, their ability to be credible. After a special court ordered the acquittal of hardline Hindu leaders from a conspiracy charge of bringing down a 16th-century mosque in 1992, most opposition leaders went silent or were guarded in their reactions.” Wrote Nirendra Dev in New Delhi
In India, a multi-faith and multi-language country, secularism took a beating on Dec. 6, 1992, when Hindu zealots demolished the Babri Masjid. They argued they were undoing the act of 16th-century Muslim ruler Baber, who built it after razing a temple at the spot in Ayodhya town, the birthplace of their Lord Ram in present-day Uttar Pradesh State.
Starting in the 19th century, there were several conflicts and court disputes between Hindus and Muslims over the mosque. The disputes came to a flashpoint in 1992 when L.K. Advani of the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) began a roadshow demanding the mosque’s demolition and the building of a temple at Ayodhya.
Following the demolition, Hindu-Muslim riots followed in which some 3,000 people died. Advani, as leader of the opposition in India’s parliament (Lok Sabha), took the moral high ground and resigned. The Congress party, which was running the government in New Delhi then, dismissed BJP governments in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Fast forward to Sept. 30, 2020: Advani and a host of other hardline BJP politicians were acquitted by a special court that heard the conspiracy case…..”