Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has warned that there would be bloodshed if the Supreme Court ruled against a temple allowing the Muslims to have the disputed site of Babri Masjid.
The Art of Living founder had until recently offered to act as a mediator in the Ayodhya issue. People mostly had no illusions about his attempts for mediation that they were any sincere moves to reconcile the wounded hearts or to restore religious unity. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar appeared in the role of a mediator only when the apex court is about to deliver its verdict after a seven decade-long uncertainty and volatile atmosphere on the dispute regarding which party had the title for the site of Babri Masjid which was demolished on December 6, 1992 by Kar Sevaks. Chief Justice Dipak Misra had unequivocally made it clear on February 8 that the court considered the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute only as a land dispute. This means that matters based on religion or history do not come under the consideration of the court.
The Supreme Court is currently hearing the appeals filed against the verdict of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court delivered in September 2010 that the disputed land be partitioned equally among the three parties. The court had reminded that in this context nothing other than the documents which prove the claims of the parties can be examined and that the intervention of a third party cannot be allowed. In that case, nothing can be done other than await the court verdict. The argument that those who waited for seventy years cannot have patience for a few more weeks or months, is totally unacceptable. If law and order is, and has to be, maintained, then there is no other solution to the problem. All India Muslim Personal Law Board which is a representative body of Indian Muslims, had even recently made it clear that whatever be the court verdict, they would accept that. Hindu outfits that are also one of the parties in the dispute should also be presumed to agree to that stance since they have filed an appeal against the Allahabad High Court verdict. Also, if the site of dispute belongs to Babri Masjid, there is no way that Muslim organizations or the Sunni Central Waqf Board will not abide by it. And in that case, the Ram Janmabhoomi supporters could build a temple there without any mediation. Indian Muslims particularly the Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, are not in a state to even hoist a black flag against that.
That being the case, why did Sri Sri Ravi Shankar give a warning that the court verdict will lead to bloodletting? It is either an ill-advised attempt to put the apex court under pressure or an implicit call to the Hindutva forces to grab the land by force defying the court verdict if that is against them. In either case, no one believing in democracy and independence of the judiciary can take Ravi Shankar's threat at face value. Earlier, even as he set about in search of mediation, his moves were not in the right track for a peaceful solution. Who the people behind the mediation body named ‘Ayodhya Sadbhavana Samanway Maha Samithi’ cobbled together by Amarnath Mishra were, is no secret. And It is the same Mishra who caused a split in Muslim Personal Law Board and made secret attempts to win over a plinter group of scholars for a proposal of building a temple in the plot where the masjid stood earlier, and build a mosque in another location.
Amarnath Mishra also had a temporary success in estranging Salman Nadwi - senior official of Nadwathul Ulama the reputed educational institution of Lucknow, and the nephew of globally known Islamic scholar Maulana Ali Mian - from the Muslim Personal Law Board. But the Chairman of the board, Maulana Rabey Hasani Nadvi – who is also a close relative of Salman Nadwi - rejected his stand saying that any out of court settlement or mediation was not acceptable to the Board. The most recent development reported in this regard is that Salman Nadwi has retracted from his position and reverted to the stance of the Board. The statement by Sri Sri and his ilk with a prophecy of bloodshed can only be seen as a bogey emanating from frustration resulting from this situation. Whatever be the verdict of the Supreme Court, all parties to the case are bound to accept it wholeheartedly. Only if some try to protest at it and to let blood flow, will India be thrown into a Syria-like civil war, as apprehended by Sri Sri. The very thought that such a tragedy will befall secular India is ill-advised. And no one need be in any doubt that the peace-loving and democratically committed majority are not going to let that happen.