‘I dare the RSS to give a third of the land to Muslims’

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SP general secretary Mohan Singh tells Kunal Majumder that Mulayam Singh Yadav’s comments reflect Muslim concerns

Photo: Shailendra Pandey

Is it right for Mulayam Singh Yadav to play politics on a sensitive issue like Ayodhya? Why does he want the dispute to continue? Why doesn’t he seek a settlement?
It is sad that everybody is playing politics with this issue. The Ayodhya dispute used to be a fight between two people until politicians hijacked it. Those who have done nothing but play politics with Ayodhya are now accusing Mulayam of doing the same. Immediately after the Ayodhya verdict, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani made their statements.

Were their statements non-political? The BJP and the Sangh Parivar have always used this issue to gain political mileage. Advani claimed that his rath yatra changed Indian politics. He undertook the yatra for political reasons, not to resolve the Ayodhya dispute.

Was Mulayam’s statement based on feedback from Muslims? Why is he the only one to claim that Muslims are dissatisfied?
I don’t know why Mulayam made that statement but the truth is that Muslims have started feeling that even the judiciary doesn’t support them. Mulayam is not the only one who said this. Former chief justices VN Khare and AM Ahmadi also made similar statements. The judgement by the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court is less to do with justice; instead, it will create more problems. Comparatively, Mulayam was much more mellow in his response. All he said was that Muslims are dejected by the judgement.

But have the other people accepted the verdict in its entirety? The Nirmohi Akhara is planning to contest it in the Supreme Court. The Sunni Waqf Board and the Hindu Mahasabha are also doing the same. There isn’t one party that is not challenging the verdict. If Advani and Bhagwat have the guts, I challenge them to accept the high court judgement and hand over one-third of the land to the Muslims immediately. All they are saying is that Muslims must vacate the land and a grand Ram temple should be built there.

Some leaders of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board have criticised Mulayam’s statement. Why doesn’t he retract it?
These are the same people who had withdrawn from the Babri Masjid movement long ago. They don’t have a stake in the dispute. Their hearts and minds are with the Congress. That’s why they become restless whenever Mulayam speaks about Muslim rights. They think they are the self-appointed guardians of Muslims. So, when others speak about minority rights, these people fear they will lose their importance. They should voice their opinion on the judgement and then criticise Mulayam. They have no opinion on the issue. They are only bothered about Mulayam’s remarks.

Isn’t Mulayam trying to win back Muslim support that left him high and dry after he joined hands with former BJP leader Kalyan Singh?
He has already paid the price for joining hands with Kalyan Singh. He realised that it was one of the biggest mistakes of his life. That’s why he apologised to the Muslims and they have forgiven him as well. That’s why there is no need to link that episode with this issue. Mulayam has a good record when it comes to secularism. He has always supported Muslim rights and stood by the minority community without worrying about votebank politics. If he wants to indulge in partisan politics, he could have supported Hindu causes. After all, they are the majority. Mulayam has never worried about that. He has always stood for the truth.

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