Friday, December 17, 2010

Faith & Fact: Democracy After the Ayodhya Verdict

SAHMAT, Communalism Combat, Social Scientist, Dec 6-8. 2010

REPORT

By Teesta Setalvad

The September 30 2010 verdict in the Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi case, that began as a dispute over a title suit but escalated into a full blown politico-religious conflict— one that legitimized the criminal assault on a 450 plus year old mosque as also targeted minority life and property— has raised serious issues for the future of Indian democracy given the fact that the verdict was disproportionately based on issues of contested faith and disputed histories.

A unique and well-planned three-day symposium organized in Delhi by SAHMAT, Communalism Combat and Social Scientist brought together academics, jurists and activists from different parts of the country to deliberate various aspects and fallouts of the verdict at length.

Commemorating the 18th anniversary of December 6, 1992, the symposium was jointly organised by SAHMAT, Communalism Combat and Social Scientist. Over 200 activists, lawyers, artists and academicians gathered to develop a deeper understanding of all the implications of the Ayodhya verdict. Over four dozen organizations represented by activists from Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh participated in the deliberations. The assault on the Baba Boudhangiri shrine in Chikmagalur in Karnataka, the vigorous struggle against the divisive hate speech of Swami Adityanath in Gorakhpur in eastern Uttar Pradesh and other such struggles were also discussed and analysed.

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