22nd anniversary of Babri Masjid demolition: The nation has moved on
So much has changed between December 6th 1992 and December 6th 2014. This is a day that is remembered for the demolition of the Babri Masjid and although it will remain in the memories of many for a long time, it would be safe to say that the nation has moved on.
I was just out of school when the Babri Masjid was demolished. [Case will go on no matter what, says convenor of Babri Masjid Action Committee]
In fact I was in Mangalore and after the riots broke out, there was no way I was getting back home. However after a 48 hour ordeal, I managed to get into a jam packed train sit on the foot board for 24 hours and reach Benmgaluru. A lot of you may remember what the situation was like in the entire country.
Eighteen years later, I found myself at Lucknow right before the High Court. This time around I was there to report the verdict which was being passed after nearly 2 decades. There was enough and more drama that led up to the passing of this verdict.
I landed in Lucknow on September 23 2010. The verdict was to be delivered on the same day. As I was leaving for the High Court the news broke that the Supreme Court had deferred the verdict of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court. I left Lucknow for Bangalore.
However in the next hearing the Supreme Court had cleared the pronouncement of the verdict and I was back in Lucknow on September 30 2010.
The build up:
Lucknow looked like fortress. There were nearly 10000 police and other personnel guarding the city. The verdict was to be delivered by 2 PM and clearly everything around looked tense. The streets were filled with security personnel and by 11 AM, all the shops were shut down on orders of the district administration.
I was with a fellow journalist who took me to a hotel which was near the High Court. I told him, it is better we have three meals at once because I do not know when I will have my next meal. We were all sure that there would be violence which ever way the verdict would go.
At the High Court:
There were prohibitory orders around the High Court. An arrangement for journalists half a kilometer away from the High Court was made and we were told that once the verdict is delivered the advocates would come there and brief all of us. The tension was clear and none of us wanted any violence even if meant it would boost our page views.
All of us discussed the day the incident happened and we felt that there would be a repeat of the same because one party was bound to get upset with the verdict what ever it was.
At around 2.30 PM, we got to know that the verdict had been delivered. Now began that never ending wait to find out what exactly that verdict was. We saw some lawyers come running to the press area with victory signals. They were lawyers of the VHP who were shouting, " judgment hamare paksh me hua," (verdict is in our favour). For that moment our thoughts of the violence that could follow did not cross our minds. Each one was too busy breaking the story."
Now that it was done:
After reporting the news, the next thing that crossed our mind was the possible violence. I was expecting a record breaking message board under my story. I was telling a friend that this story will have at least 12000 messages. However when I saw that it had barely managed to cross 1500, I told myself, " the nation has moved on."
Riots spread across the country after the mosque was demolished on Dec 6, 1992
We came out of the press area and saw that almost every shop in Lucknow had opened up. Life was normal and that was such a pleasant sight to see. The thoughts of my 1992 train journey came rushing back to my mind and I thought how much had changed. There was not a single incident of violence reported in any part of the country and that made me feel good that as a country we had come a long way.
A thing of the past:
After the verdict was over, it was time to do the usual reaction story. While the advocates and petitioners had a lot to say about the case, the people on the streets did not seem much interested. The people of both communities said that it was a thing of the past and there was no need for the people to be reminded of it.
There are other things to worry about today. Let the court decide on the matter and what has to happen after that will happen. However for us today there are more important issues such as development and this issue does not matter to us anymore. This was the reaction that we got from a majority of the people.
It felt good to hear these reactions and the menace of riots was no longer in the minds of the people. I told my friend, " let us go for dinner. Clearly those three meals which we had at one shot has not solved my problem. However at dinner let us toast to this great nation which has moved on."