09.09.91

*t22

PLACES OF WORSHIP (SPECIAL PROVISION BILL)

[English]

SHRI RAM NAIK (Bombay, North): Sir, I have given a notice to raise a point of order about the Bill which is to be considered now. I gave a notice that I wish to raise a point of order.

MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Even before the Bills have been introduced! SHRI RAM NAIK: Sir, the bill has already been introduced. I wish to oppose the consideration of Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill, and my basic objection is that this Bill is incomplete.

For every Bill a Statement of Objects and Reasons should be there and the exact changes that are to be made should also be indicated.

They are there, but there is another thing also, which is required to be given. And, that is, if any particular Section is to be amended then in the annexure that particular Section,or that particular act, which is sought to be amended, should be printed. If you see this Bill, it does not give the details of the Section which is sought to be amended. Section 8 of the Representation of Peoples' Act, 1951 is sought to be amended. In this Bill that particular section has not been given. We cannot apply our mind to this Bill unless that section is given here. That is why I am opposing it.

I would request you to refer to Kaul and Shakder Page 486. It is about the annexure and I would read the relevant paragraph: "Where certain Sections of the parent Act are sought to be amended, the text there of is generally appended to every amending

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Bill in the form of an annexure. In the case the number of sections involved is large, on the request made by the Minister in charge of the Bill, the sections may not be reproduced as an annexure but copies of the original Act are supplied by the Ministry concerned for circulation to the Members. This is not applicable here because only one Section is being amended. "But where original Acts themselves are bulky, copies of the Acts are not circulated to Members but a few copies of the Acts received from the Ministry concerned are placed in the Parliament Library for reference by Members. A Para in this regard is issued in the Bulletin Part-11". That is also not applicable.

"Before 1950-this is important-the text of Sections of an Act sought to be amended by an amending Bill was not printed along with the Bill." That was the position before 1950.

"On 14th August, 1950, When the Bill further to amend the Essential Supplies Act came up for consideration before the House, a point was raised that along with an amending Bill, the relevant Sections of the original Act which are not sought to be amended should also be printed for the purpose of facilitating the working of the Members." This was the point which was raised. On this, the Speaker had directed - I am reading now the direction - that in future, whenever amending Bills are presented to amend the original Acts, a Schedule of the relevant Sections from the original Acts should be given with the Bill. Such an Annexure is however not added to a secret Bill."

So, Sir, when this particular Act is sought to be amended, that is the People's Representation Act, that particular Section has not been given here. If that particular Section is not given and with a specific ruling, this Bill cannot be considered. The Government, while introducing the Bill has earlier said that they have taken a lot of care. They wanted to draw up a Bill very precisely, very accurately and that is why, they took some time. You would remember, what they have said. Even the permission of the House - the normal

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practice of seven days' notice-and under Rule 19B, every Member is required to get two days' notice, was suspended. There was a lot of controversy in this House and we surrendered our rights and the Speaker also ruled that under Rule 19B, he has given the permission, so the discussion can continue.

When so much thought has been given, the simple requirement which is there, that Annexure has not been given here. So, Sir, unless, the Annexure is given, this Bill cannot be considered here. That is my point of order for which I have also given you the official quotings from Kaul and Shakdher. I wish that you will consider my objection and to see that the Bill is not discussed today.

Let them give the Annexure and then the Bill can be discussed further.

MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER: There is no Rule requiring the Government to amend the relevant provisions of an Act which are sought to be amended. However, this is generally done in compliance with the observations made by the Chair when the Essential Supplies Bill came up for consideration on 14.8.1950. There is no point of older as no Rule is violated.

SHRI RAM NAIK: Sir, in future, it should be done that is what the direction is.

MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Copies of the Annexure are being received from the Ministry of Home Affairs and these will be made available to Members in the House. In the meantime, the Bill can be proceeded with.

THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (SHRI S.B. CHAVAN): I beg to move: That the Bill to prohibit conversion of any place of worship and to provide for the maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on the 15th day of August, 1947 and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto, be taken into consideration.

679 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

[Sh. S. B. Chavan]

It is considered necessary to adopt these measures in view of the controversies arising from time to time with regard to conversion of places of worship which tend to vitiate the communal atmosphere.

This Bill has been brought in fulfilment of a commitment made in the President's Address to the Parliament on 11th July, 1991.

Clause 3 of this Bill seeks to prohibit conversion of any place of worship of any religious denomination or any section thereof into a place of worship of a different section of the same religious denomination or of a different religious denomination or any section thereof.

14.00 hrs.

Clause 4 provides for continuance of the religious character of a place of worship existing on the 15th day of August, 1947. Certain exemptions have, however, been provided in Sub-clause (3) of this Clause.

Clause 5 exempts the Ram Janam Bhoomi-Babri Masjid from the operation of this Bill.

Clause 6 of Bill provides for the punishment for violation of the prohibition contained in Clause 3.

Clause 8 provides for an amendment of Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act to ensure that persons convicted of offences under this Act are debarred for being chosen as and for being Member of Parliament as of State Legislature.

It will, thus, be seen that adoption of this Bill will effectively prevent any new controversies from arising in respect of conversion of any place of worship, while the exemptions contained in Sub-clause 3 of Clause 4 will ensure that matters which have been settled amicably, finally disposed of by courts,

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barred by limitation etc., are not unnecessarily raised.

I am sure that enactment of this Bill will go a long way in helping to restore communal amity and goodwill. I, therefore, commend this Bill to Hon'ble Members of this House and seek their cooperation in passing it.

MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: Motion moved:

"That the Bill to prohibit conversion of any place of worship and to provide for the maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on the 15th day of August, 1947, and for matters connected there with or incidental thereto, be taken into consideration."

Now there are amendments to be moved by the hon. Members. Shri Girdharilal Bhargava.

SHRI GIRDHARI LAL BHARGAVA (Jaipur): I beg to Move:

"That the Bill be circulated for the purpose of eliciting opinion thereon by the 25th November, 1991." (3)

MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: Shri Bhagwan Shankar Rawat - not present.

Shri Rajendra Agnihotri - not present. Shri Madan Lal Khurana.

SHRI MADAN LAL KHURANA (South Delhi): I beg to move:

"That the Bill be circulated for the purpose of eliciting opinion thereon by the 29th November, 1991." (6)

MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: Shri Dau Dayal Joshi - not present. Kumari Uma Bharati.

SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE (Bolpur): There is a re-thinking on that side.

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They are even not present to move their amendments.

(Interruptions)

MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: Kumari Uma Bharati.

SHRI S.B. CHAVAN: There are amendments. On behalf of the

Government, I move those amendments.

SHRI RAM NAIK: I am on a point of order. How can you move those amendments? Only at the second stage, you can do it.

SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE: How can you move them now?

MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: Kumari Uma Bharati.

[Translation]

KUMARI UMA BHARTI (Khajuraho): Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I rise to oppose the Bill introduced by the Government. After going through the Bill, I have been pleased by one point mentioned in the Bill, which has been provided in sub-clause (2) of Section 4 which states:- "If, on the commencement of this Act, any unit, appeal or other proceedings with respect to the conversion of the religious character of any place of worship, existing on the 15th day of August, 1947 is pending before any court, tribunal or authority, the same shall abate and no unit, appeal or other proceedings with respect to any such matter shall lie on or after such commencement in any court, tribunal or other authority." It clearly confirms one thing, which we all have been saying all along in our speeches that Ram-Janma-Bhoomi dispute is not a issue to be sorted out in courts as it is matter of our faith. Crores of devotees of Lord Rama on this earth and of this country have been supporting this view. The huge gathering of the people in our meetings also proved the

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same fact. All this demonstrates that all of us are unanimous on one point that this issue cannot be settled in courts. I am very glad that though Congress Government might not agree with us on various issues, yet it appears that it agrees with us in this respect and it has accepted our view in this regard in to to that issues of faith cannot be decided in courts. I would be thankful to the Government that Ayodhya has been excluded from the purview of this Bill. All this shows that the Government does not want confrontation in this regard and we also do not want the confrontation although we are not afraid of any confrontation. We want that it would be better if the dispute is settled through mutual dialogue. Ulemas and saints should sit together and resolve it peacefully through mutual talks. I would like to make one more submission. It may seem irrelevent at this juncture to refer to it, but I would like to submit that it has been said repeatedly that by referring to this dispute on the stages, we have brought politics into the religion. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to proved today that it is the politics which has interfered in the religion. It should not be taken as interference of religion in the politics and whatever proof I put forward to prove this dictum shall be adequate enough.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, On Feb. 1, 1986, the court issued the orders to open the locks on the gate of Ram-Janam-Bhoomi and in its verdict the court pronounced that the doors of Ram Janma Bhoomi were not locked by order of any court, tribunal or authority. It has not been clear as to who ordered it. As a result, the lock on the shrine was opened on 1st Feb. 1986 and devotees of Lord Rama all over India lighted their houses and celebrated the occasion in various ways to express their happiness, but no communal riots took place in any part of the country during the period from Feb. 1 to Feb. 14, 1986. Not a single communal riot took place between 1st February and 14th February 1986. On 14 February 1986, Babri Masjid Action Committee was constituted and they gave a call to oppose the unlocking of Ram Mandir. With the result it became difficult to check orgy of violence and bloodshed un-

683 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

[Kumari Uma Bharti]

leashed by the communal riots since 14 February 1986.

Mr. Dy. Speaker, Sir, violence was not a sequel of unlocking the Ram Mandir, but it was the result of call given by BAMC on 14th February. Even earlier, at the time of Shah Bano case, some Muslim leaders, whose security deposit was forfeited in the election, tried to derive political mileage to gain a foothold in politics, by fanning fanaticism somehow among Muslims. They never thought for the welfare of the country, but for votes, pushed the country towards bloodshed with the hope of getting into State Assemblies and Parliament by spreading communalism. Unity was sought to be fostered among Muslim brethern by fanning fanaticism among Muslim community, after the constitution of Babri Masjid Action Committee to oppose the opening of Ram Mandir, which was already sore over the Shah Bano case.

Mr. Dy. Speaker, Sir, on 12th August 1987, another call for march to Ayodhya was given by these leaders to offer Namaz at the site of Ram Mandir, which was dubbed as Mosque in dilapidated state. I would like to know from the senior Muslim leaders whom I respect a lot as fatherly figures like Shri Sait sitting in the House, whether a call for offering of Namaz can be called as a 'march'. Is Pilgrimage to Mecca-Madina by Muslim brethern of India called a march as has been done in the case of 12th August call by members of BMAC. When is the 'March' call given? Only when army moves to track down enemy, it is called 'march'. In the call given to offer Namaz at Ayodhya can be called 'march'? I have never come across dubbing of pilgrimage by Muslims to Mecca-Madina as 'March'. This means call for 'march' was to instigate Muslims against threat to existtence of Muslim community in India with the provocation to nise for self defence. I am quite perturbed at all this and feel extremely sorry at this state of affairs.

I heard in childhood that pigeon fears

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the presence of cat. Pigeons are so innocent that they believe mere closing of eyes will prove to be an effective shield against cats. But this is not correct. Maintenance of statusquo as in 1947 in respect of religious place, is like closing eyes similar to that of pigeons against advancement of cats. This maintenance of status-quo of 1947 will mean preservation of tension for the coming generations.

I will like to quote an instance. Twenty days ago I went to Varanasi to visit Gyan Vapi, to which I have never been. At that time it was raining very heavily in Varanasi. I went to the place totally drenched, where the temple of Vishwanath was demolished by Aurangzeb to build a Mosque. Guides showed me the remnants of temple where the Mosque was built by Aurangzeb. My submission is that I am not well educated; therefore I am not conversant with the rules and procedures of the House. So, I do not know whether it will be proper to raise the issue or not, as per the rules and conventions of the House. Even when completely drenched I saw the mosque built on the remnants of the temple, some sort of current of anger ran through my body. I felt disgraced at the fate of my ancesters, who I think were challenging my womanhood and asking me, whether the intention of Aurangzeb was merely to build a mosque, then why were remnants of the temple left. Was not the intention of Aurangzeb behind leaving remnants of temple at the site of mosque, to keep reminding Hindus of their historical fate and to remind coming generations of Muslims of their past glory and power?

This is clearly a reflection first on evil designs of Aurangzeb and then of the Britishers. I would like to know from the movers of the Bill-the Congress (I) Government, why do they want to preserve and protect the wrong done by Aurangzeb and Britishers. Why are they keeping the bone of contention alive? As I felt ashamed and perturbed ... (Interruptions)... I think coming generations will keep on going to Varanasi. As long as the banks of Varanasi are considered sacred and holy, people will continue to go there and see the site of old temple. I think it was the evil design

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of Aurangzeb and Britishers to keep the issue alive for coming generations. With a view to keep the issue alive, efforts are again being made to maintain status-quo of 1947. If the intentions are not bad, then this is not the correct way of finding out the solution of dispute. Best way of finding solution of disputes in respect of all the disputed religious places, whether it be temples or mosques, is to restore the old traditional glory of all the religious places. A time frame must be set up to restore the original glory of all the religious places since the days of Alwan-Qasim.

14.15 hrs

[SHRIMATI MALINI BHATTACHARYA in the Chair]

So a date should be fixed. During the reign of Babar, religious places of worship were damaged. If the intention is clear, then the status-quo of the places of worship should be maintained and the Bill should be introduced. Otherwise, there will be efforts to thwart the passage of the Bill.

Madam, I think the consequences will not be good. This shows that we are not in favour of peace. The best solution is to maintain the status quo of all the disputed places of worship. I hope this Bill has not been brought to disturb history. Can we tamper with the calender to change historical facts? History says Rama was born there because that place is Ayodhya... (Interruptions)

SHRI P.M. SAYEED (Lakshadweep): Is that your opinion or your party's opinion?

KUMARI UMA BHARTI: This is our unanimous view. We do not have a different view point. Can we alter historical facts through a manipulation of dates? Are we scared to face history? Today it is this issue, tomorrow there could be a dispute about the date on which India got independence or even Mahatma Gandhi's role in the freedom struggle. I am sure all hon. Members present in the House are concerned about the impact of this dispute on future generations be- 686 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

cause both Hindus and Muslims have to live harmoniously in this country. We must ensure that this dispute does not have any adverse effect on future relationships between Hindus and Muslims. This can be done if the status-quo of the religious shrines is maintained. There is a provision in the Bill that all the pending cases before the court will be treated as dismissed. But can we dismiss our sentiments so lightly? There is a temple of the Goddess at Pavagarh near Baroda which is visited by thousands of devotees every Sunday. There is a tomb in the temple premises and devotees visiting that place are bound to see it. So the Government will have to specify in writing that the temple was constructed before 1947 and hence cannot be altered even if the presence of the tomb hurts anyone's sentiments. Devotees cannot escape the sight of the tomb. This Bill will suppress their sentiments. If you want tensions between Hindus and Muslims to continue then it is alright. If you are sincere about the well-being of the future generations then you must show the courage to bring a Bill which restores the religious shrines to their original status.

People say that if it is done then it will aggravate the dispute and further complicate the search for a solution. Even this Bill will generate controversy. So you should bring a Bill as suggested by me and observe the public reactions. By maintaining the Status-quo of 1947 it seems that you are following a policy of appeasement. Owners of bullock carts in villages, create a wound on the back of the ox and when they want their bullock-carts to move faster they strike at the wound. Similarly, these disputes are wounds and marks of slavery on our 'Bharat Mata'. So long as 'Gyan Vapi' continues in its present condition at Banaras and a grave remains in a temple at Pavagarh, it will remindus of the atrocities perpetrated by Aurangzeb including his efforts to convert Hindus to Islam and this would be very painful.

Sir, I am aware of the feelings of all hon. Members present in the House. All of them feel that this Bill will not provide a permanent solution of the problem. But as in the Mahabharata, Bhisma- Pitamah, Dronacharya,

687 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

[Kumari Uma Bharti]

Dhritrashtra and even the Pandavas knew that Draupadi's 'Chirharan' was wrong but certain reasons made them keep quiet. The move to restore the status of religious shrines as in 1947 shown that efforts are being made to denigrate the country's position. All these mute spectators are behaving like Bhishma Pitamah, Dronacharya, Dhritrashtra and the Pandavas did in Mahabharata when Duryodhana proceeded to disrobe Draupadi. I want all hon. Members to come out in the open and oppose this Bill.

Sir, the State of the nation can be gauged from the law and order, political and sociol-economic situation in the country. The B.J.P. come out very late with its support of the 'Ram Janmabhoomi'.

Before that the Babri Masjid Action Committee had already announced an Ayodhya March and there were many politicians associated with it.

Therefore, it is my humble request to all hon. Members to ensure that our future generations may live in harmony. Ask forgiveness from the Lord for all wrongs done in the past and make all our efforts to avoid bloodshed in future. So I request the hon. Members present here to oppose this Bill if they really love their children.

[English]

SHRI P.M. SAYEED: Madam Chairperson, I stand to support the Bill moved by the hon. Home Minister.

This Bill is in confirmation of our commitment in the manifesto of the last elections. What has been said, I have been hearing with rapt attention to my sister, Uma Bharatiji. Madam, I do not know whether you heard the cassette that was released during the last elections. It is her cassettes that were banned and that are not available now...(Interruptions).

[Translation]

KUMARI UMA BHARTI: Sir, I would like

688 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

to make a clarification as my name has been mentioned. Sir, the hon.

Member is a learned person who reads newspapers, watches TV and listens to the radio but he is not aware that I have denied in every newspaper that this casette is mine.

SHRI P.M. SAYEED: I have your casette with me and I have listened to it. (Interruptions)

KUMARI UMA BHARTI (Khajuraho): Madam Chairperson, through you, I would like to throw a challenge before the House that if anyone proves that this cassette contains my speeches, I am prepared to resign my seat. (Interruptions)

[English]

SHRI P.M. SAYEED: Madam, I do not want to argue with her. I am not yielding to her. She cannot ask me to sit down. (Interruptions) Madam, it is rather a firm commitment to the people of this country that secularism at any cost will be established in this country even if they are going to do anything by way of communal riots.

Madam, I would like to read what is there in our manifesto. I quote.

"Ram Janam bhoomi-Babri Maszid: The Congress is committee to find a negotiated settlement of this issue which fully respects the sentiments of both the communities involved. If such a settlement cannot be reached, all parties must respect the order and verdict of the court. The Congress is for the construction of the temple" -- they are not against that -- "The Congress is for the construction of the temple without demolishing the mosque.

Other places of worship: The Congress is of the firm view that the status quo as it exists in re-

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spect of all places of worship on the 15th of August 1947 should not now be altered and any controversy over any place of worship such as the Somnath Temple should be foreclosed. To achieve these objectives, statutory measures should be taken".

That is our Congress Manifesto, Madam, in the last election. This will confirm our stand and fulfils the aspirations that contained in the manifesto. Now, what are we here? Let us be frank. Why is it that such a Bill is contemplated now? For the past two years any right- minded citizen in this country will say that communalism was mixed up with politics.

AN HON. MEMBER: By whom?

SHRI P.M. SAYEED: By you. Was the Rath Yatra a religious yatra?

Was it with a religious flag? It was a BJP flag with lot of symbols.

Who has mixed up religion with politics? Was it the Congress Party or you? It was the BJP which has mixed up politics with religion.

(Interruptions)

SHRI RAM NAIK (Bombay-North): Can you give me a minute?

(Interruptions)

Religion was mixed up with politics in this House by the Congress when they brought and tried to distort the Shah Bano's case. What was the Judgment? And you brought out another Act to anul the Judgment which was given and there you started mixing the religion with politics. (Interruptions)

SHRI. P.M. SAYEED: Madam, it is a matter of his interpretation and his party's interpretation. The Congress stands for secularism.

Any infringement of personal law is infringement of secularism. That is the law. We have honoured Parsi personal law, we have honoured Hindu personal law, we are honouring the Muslim personal law and Christian personal law and, therefore, if they want no personal law should be honoured, that means, they want the common code.

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(Interruptions). Yes, they want the common code. That means, in this country no religion must be there including Hindu religion. Is that the stand taken by them, I do not know. I am not going for that. What I mean is, if the Rath Yatra was a religious yatra, was it containing the BJP flag or the safron flag with Trishul with an air-conditioned jeep and lotus?

My sister is accusing the Congress Party that we have mixed politics with religion. We are not for mixing politics with religion.

This country is a secular country and if it is to be united, we must honour the composite culture, the 'unity in diversity' is to be honoured by every secular party and this Bill is going to be at least a step in that direction. So, what is necessary is if the unity and integrity of this country are to be intact, then we have to see that such pieces of legislations are accepted by all the secular forces. We have no complaint against them. They can come to power. Let them seek a mandate from the people. That will give an opportunity for everybody to know what is what. But this mixing of politics with the religion is only to capture power and that is going to disintegrate this country.

Madam, many of my friends are there in that party. Why do they go in for that? Do they want this country to be disintegrated? This country has many cultures, religions and languages. Are we not going to accept the composite culture of this country? I come from such a part of the country where 100 percent Muslim population is there. You will see how the secular culture of India is displayed there. My friends Shri Vajpayee and Shri Ram Naik can come and see there.

Normally, Muslim women remove their ear rings and other gold ornaments only when their husbands die. But when China attacked India, overnight they had removed all their gold ornaments and given them to the National Defence Fund. That is the nation spirit and patriotism that they had displayed. If you point out a doubt in their integrity, sincerity and loyalty to the nation, what will happen to this country?

I am pointing out this example as an illustration of their patriotism.

When I referred to the cassette, she was

691 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

[Sh. I.P.M. Sayeed]

very angry. I have got those cassettes with me. Shri Ram Naik can hear them. It was very difficult for me to secure them, but I have got two or three cassettes with me.

SHRI RAM NAIK: She has already said that there is no cassette like that. If your contention is proved wrong, are you ready to resign? (Interruptions)

SHRI P.M. SAYEED: Madam, in this Bill, there are enough

provisions to take care of the shrines and religious places. But I have some suggestions to make to the Home Minister.

I am told that Babri Masjid-Ramjanam Bhoomi issue is kept out of the Bill because it is sub judice. But the whole issue was on account of Ramjanma Bhoomi-Babri Masjid issue. Whatever it may be, I request the hon. Home Minister, while giving reply to the debate, to clarify why it is kept out of the Bill.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has circulated some series of letters in which they have brought about not only Babri Masjid-Ramjanma Bhoomi but also Varanasi, Mathura and Taj Mahal. They want to demolish all this. They do not want to construct. We all of us want to construct this country but they want to demolish it. This is the "Opposition".

Therefore, what I feel is this Bill is timely. (Interruptions) The salient feature of this Bill is, if anybody indulges in such an offence, he will be disqualified even in contesting the Parliamentary elections. It is a very good provision. What I feel is, it is not only for three years but it should be for life. Anybody who indulges in such an offence at the cost of unity and integrity of this country should not be permitted to contest the elections to any Legislature at all. I suggest that an amendment may be brought to that effect.

What are they for? I am for a healthy

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democratic tradition. I am for healthy growth of political parties here. From a party of two MPs it; has grown to a party of 126 Members.

They feel, at this rate, if they will go on doing this kind of activities, they will be in a position to come to power. But they are mistaken. (Interruptions) We have seen your performance in Rajasthan.

We have seen your performance in Madhya Pradesh. Your U.P.

performance, we are going to see. About Himachal performance, we have seen about fifty per cent.

SHRI RAM NAIK: We have seen your performance in Haryana.

(Interruptions)

SHRI P.M. SAYEED: What I want to submit is, any sound economic policy or social policy or political policy that is accepted will last long. There may be some loopholes or weakness anywhere in any Party.

Then that will be reflected in the next elections. That is what exactly has happened. Do not get yourself perturbed. This will also be seen in the next elections in Uttar Pradesh. (Interruptions) I wish you all the best. Whatever it may be, your communal politics is neither going to help you in the long run nor will it continue for long.

It is already proved. (Interruptions).

MR. CHAIRMAN (SHRIMATI MALINI BHATTACHARYA): I am asking the hon.

Member to sit down.

SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE (Bolpur): We have heard very peacefully and quietly. Why are you disturbing others?

SHRI P.M. SAYEED: At the time of introduction of the Bill, we have seen that the parties who have opposed the Bill have walked out.

Now they have given amendments. Of course, they may walk out or they may oppose this Bill.

But what I want to appeal to the House is that this is the right direction that the Government has given and all the parties who have faith and commitment to democ-

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racy, socialism and also secularism, will support this Bill.

I appeal to all hon. Members to see that this Bill is accepted unanimously and to strengthen the forces of secularism.

[Translation]

SHRI RAM VILAS PASWAN (Rosera): Madam Chairperson, I rise to support this Bill. Better late than never, I am glad that this Bill has come. Had the Congress party brought such a legislation earlier, I am certain that this dispute would not have risen at all. The Ram Janam Bhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute would not have been arisen here at all. There cannot be two opinion in this regard. I have been pointing towards this matter earlier also and you might have felt offended then. This Bill indeed has a very laudable objective.

Madam Chairperson, in 1969, there was a S.V.D. (Samyukta Vidhayak Dal) Government in U.P. and in 1977 there was Janata Party Government at the Centre. Both Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Shri Lal Krishna Advani were Ministers in that Government but why didn't they raise that issue at that time? Why it has been raised during the last two years It obviously means that you left some loopholes somewhere. That was why the Ram Janma Bhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute was not raised at any level at that time. However, those elements got an opportunity to raise their heads, when you allowed them to conduct the 'Shilanyar' ceremony, and today the country is suffering on account of that. That is why, I have been saying time and again that this is not an unimportant issue and that your intentions are not good. What is required is leadership, policy and good intentions. Leadership or policies are not wanting in this country, what is lacking is sincerity. I have been telling you right from the beginning that, had you been really sincere about bringing this Bill, both the National Front and the Left Front would have stood by you, in consonance with our policy of extending our support to the progressive measures being taken by the Government,

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aimed at protecting secularism and securing social justice. We shall support all legislations, brought forward with these objectives in mind. We shall not only extend our support to the Government, but also put pressure on it and if necessary, defeat this Government on the floor of the House, by bringing a No-Confidence Motion against it.

Madam Chairperson, secularism, social justice and power to the poor constitute the very backbone of the country and it has been made amply clear in the 1989 manifesto of the National Front. Earlier also, when we were in the Janata Party, we had raised a demand that August 15, 1947 should be treated as a cutoff date to determine the ownership of religions places, so that all disputes relating to places to worship are settled permanently.

They, such a legislation had to be brought forward because India is the home of people belonging to many religious denominations. Our country is like a garden and here not one, but all the flowers will be given the opportunity to blossom. People belonging to many communities have made Indiatheir home. When Babar invaded India, which Hindu king was ruling the country? It was Ibrahim Lodhi, who was ruling the country at that time. Who came to India before Babur? The Aryans.

There was no Hindu-Muslim clash at that time. According to the religious people, there was war between the Gods and demons when churning of the ocean took place. Now, who were these Gods and who were these demons? Why was there a fight between Vishnu and Shiva? If we go deep into the history of all this, we won't be able to safeguard the unity and integrity of this country. Therefore, this chapter has to be closed somewhere. We have far more important problems before us - the problem of poverty that of unemployment that of illiteracy, that of rural water supply. This country cannot affort to squabble over trifling issues like Mandir or Masjid. Therefore, hon. Chairperson, I was telling you that (Interruptions) I don't want to refer to any particular community. Some people had come to us with regard to the Ram Janam

695 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

[Sh. Ram Vilas Paswan]

Bhoomi-Babri Masjid issue. You may be awere that Dr. Ambedkar's wife, Mrs. Savita Ambedkar had claimed that the disputed site was neither a temple, nor a Mosque, but a Buddhist place of worship and these people were saying that the site belongs to them.

There is an episode in the Mahabharata, wherein Karna says that his funeral pyre should be lit at a place, where nobody has been cremated before and Krishna was in a predicament and he had to ultimately use his hand as a cremation site. The present situation too is quite similar. Today, it is impossible to say, whether a place of worship, was a temple, a mosque or a Buddha Vihar. India attained Independence on August 15, 1947 and at that time, we had 56 crore Gods.

KUMARI UMA BHARTI: There were 56 'Koti' Gods.

SHRI RAM VILAS PASWAN: Okay, you yourself tell them how many are there in one 'Koti'. We had 56 crore Gods. When we didn't have a population of even ten crores. There are five Gods for one person, yet we have not been able to make arrangement for potable water in 5,76,000 villages in the country, but a country where there is only one God, everyone is prosperous and that country is progressing like anything. This is a religious issue. I have already said that I am not a believer. Let people believe in places of worship, according to their faith. The country gained Independence on August 15, 1947.

Before that, who were the masters at this country? We don't want to go into history, and August 15, 1947 was a momentous day in the country's history. It is such a date in the nation's history that many among us... (Interruptions) During the course of my speech, I have neither referred to any political party nor any political leader by name and nor do I intend to do so. The very objective of religion is to remove darkness and provide light and knowledge. A lamp can be used to light up a house as well as to burn it down. Unfortunately, today, religion is being used to spread hatred and disharmony. We

696 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

will have to give a serious thought to it.

Mr. Chairman, Sir, ours is a country where we have people belonging to various faiths and walks of life and each of one of them should be given an opportunity to realize his maximum potential. I believe that this Bill is a right step, towards fulfilling this objective.

Every day, some or the other issue is raked up here. Arguments are put forward in defence of definitions of natives and foreigners. I believe that this matter is beyond the scope of argument. Today, we hear slogans like 'Garva se kaho, hum Hindu bain'.

Garva se bolo, hum Musalman hain'. 'Garva se bolo, hum Sikh hain'. but where is that soul-stirring slogan of

'Garva se kaho hum Bharatiya hain:? We are first Indians...

(Interruptions)

Mr. Chairman, Sir, can anyone say that among our freedom fighters, the sacrifice made by Sardar Bhagat Singh was inferior to anyone. During the 1965 war, many of our jawans were decorated with 'Vir Chakras', but Abdul Hameed received the highest honour of 'Paramvir Chakra'. Was his sacrifice, less than that of anyone? Will his sacrifice be underestimated just because be happened to be a Muslim? We attained independence on August 15, 1947. While some people chose the new State, the rest preferred to stay back. It is a fact that the country does not apprehend as much danger from Pakistan as from those within the country, who indulge in espionage and sell the country for a few silver coins. They are the worst enemies of the country. Now, if people of my age, like Kumari Uma Bharti or myself start accusing the Indian Muslims of being Pakistani agents or the Indian Christians as British agents, it cannot be justified, on any ground. If one goes to U.S.A. and search for an original Amrican, everyone would proudly say that he or she is an American. The Americans are a very united and patriotic people, irrespective of their enthnic origins. It's high time, we too realized

697 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

it and drew a dividing line between the patriots and traitors. That line cannot be drawn on the basis of religion or community, nor in the name of Ram. The issue of Ram is theirs and of those who believe in him. Dr. Ambedkar has also said a lot about Ram. Idon't want to go into that, including the fact that Shambook was killed during Ram's regime...(Interruptions)...

SHRI BRISHIN PATEL (Siwan): These people have brought in Ravan, leaving Ram aside...(Interruptions)...

SHRI RAM VILAS PASWAN: I want to say that there should be no objection if anyone wants to build a Ram temple, a mosque, a gurudwara or a church, but one wonders, where do these people want to take the country, by demolishing an existing structure and building a temple at that place. Do we want to take the country towards avagery?...(Interruptions)...

SHRI DAU DAYAL JOSHI (Kota): Paswanji, have you gone there and seen the place or are you speaking without any basis?...(Interruptions)...

MR. CHAIRMAN: Joshiji, please take your

seat....(Interruptions)...

[English]

MR. CHAIRMAN: We are having a very good discussion on a very important topic...(Interruptions)...

[Translation]

Please don't forget that the honour of this House is in your hands....(Interruptions)...

MR. CHAIRMAN: Please take your seat. Let him speak. You will also get an opportunity.

SHRI CHEDI PASWAN (Sasaram): Madam Chairperson, please let me make a point . So long as Uma Bhartiji spoke, not a single member from our side interrupted her.

698 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

But now that a hon. Member from our side has stood up to speak, why these people are interrupting him and obstructing the proceedings of the House?... (Interruptions)...

SHRI RAM VILAS PASWAN: Madam Chairperson, I want to point out here that the proponents of Hindutva tend to forget the fact that Hindus are there not only in India but also all over the world. When on 30th October, a rumour spread that the Babri Masjid had been demolished, some people in Bangladesh went to attack temples there.

But when it came to be known that the Babri Masjid has escaped damage, the police opened fire on the rioters and about 20 people killed in the incident. But no temple was allowed to be damaged. Have the advocates of Hindutva ever thought of the repercussions on the Hindus in foreign countries, if a church or mosque is demolished in this country? Therefore, please don't intermix politics with religion to the extent that it would prove disastrous for our own brethren...(Interruptions)... Madam Chairperson, today many people are arrogant over their strength in the Parliament. I too have completed about five terms in Parliament.

I still remember, when I was a first year student in the college, I had this misunderstanding that the college is in my pocket and that I was a heroe, but I realized during my fourth year that I was not a `heroe' but a `Zero'. This is the supreme law-making body of the country. This is not a temple, where one can ring bells. Here, decisions are taken in accordance with the constitutional provisions and all Governments, whether they be at the Centre or at the States, will have to abide by the constitutional provisions. The Central Government or the State Governments won't be allowed to overlook the constitution or to subvert it. Therefore, Madam Chairperson, through you, I would like to say that today the question is not of Hindu- Muslim, nor or temple, mosque or gurudwara. Today, the issue at stake is our Constitution. The issue is to save that India, for whose freedom, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians had fought together and it is the duty of

699 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

[Sh. Ram Vilas Paswan]

every citizen to safeguard our Constitution. The issue involves not only Hindus and Christians, but each and every citizen of this country. This is a matter concerning the Constitution and I believe that whichever Government comes to power, will have to go by the Constitution. No decision can be taken by putting the Constitution at stake. On behalf of the National Front and the Leftfront, I would like to warn the Union Government of disastrous consequences, if it allows the Constitution, to be subverted, constitutional provisions to be violated or if it surrenders before those forces which are aiming at subverting the Constitution. We at the National Front and Left Front would from a human chain around the Babri Masjid to protect it from those intending to demolish it. They will have to walk over our dead bodies to reach the mosque. Therefore, I would like to appeal to my countryman that those who have complete faith in our Constitution and the cardinal principals of secularism should come forward, for today our very Constitution is at stake. Yunus Saheb, Shri Syed Sahabuddin and others will tell the House about the loopholes and drawbacks of this legislation, but we support this Bill, as it is in consonance with our demand in this regard, although we too believe that this Bill does not carry within itself, a complete solution to this problem.

15.00 hrs.

However, it would prove effective in checking the growing communal feeling within the country and attempts by certain forces to incite violence by declaring certain structures belonging to one community has their own. I would like to repeat that so far neither the Government's policies not its intentions were sincere and it has had its far reaching consequences. At least now, the Government should rise above petty politics and formulate such policies that would act as a check on those forces, which till the other day, had abused Bhindranwale for mixing politics with religion and for using the Golden Temple for political purposes. But today they

700 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

are themselves indulging in politics from temple and also justifing it. Therefore, no loopholes should be left in this law. Hindus are in majority in this country and the secular forces within that community have very well seen through the games of the communalists and have understood the linkage between Ram and Politics. The National Front is committed to protect secularism and I urge you to follow suit. I am thankful to you for bringing forward a legislation in this regard and I extend my support to this Bill.

-----

[English]

MR. CHAIRMAN: Shri Eduardo-Faleiro to make a statement on

recognition by the Government of the three Baltic States.

SHRI SAIFUDDIN CHOUDHURY (Katwa): May I make a point in regard to the propriety? We came to know about this recognition two days ago through the electronic media. It was told that the Prime Minister has granted recognition while he was in Germany. Is that not an insult to this Parliament? There is no denying the fact that we have a right to recognise the Baltic Republics. The Soviet Union itself has granted them independence; we have to. But the point is that is it in accordance the decorum, practice, convention and propriety. We take serious objection to this kind of callous behaviour.

THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS (SHRI EDUARDO FALEIRO): The hon. Member wants to know whether the

recognisition of these Baltic Republics which was done by the Prime Minister is in accordance with the practice, convention and the law.

SHRI SAIFUDDIN CHOUDHURY: What is objectionable is announcing it in another country while the Parliament is in session here.

SHRI EDUARDO FALEIRO: I would respectfully submit that that alone is in accordance with the law. The position is as

701 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

follows. The position and the practice of the Government is and should be - and it is the international law also - that as soon as all the constitutional requirements for recognition are fulfilled, recognition must be granted.

I would also respectfully submit for consideration of this House that had recognition been delayed,then perhaps this House and the hon.

Members - some hon. Members, not perhaps these Members - would have criticised as to why recognition had not been granted at the earliest.

So, there is really no substance in this at all.

SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE (Bolpur): Can you ignore the Parliament?

SHRI EDUARDO FALEIRO: Coming to Parliament, as the hon. Member rightly pointed out, the Government of India announced...

SHRI E. AHAMED (Manjeri): When Japanese Government declared the recognition in Tokyo, when the Chinese Government declared the recognition in Beijing, why did our Government declared it in another country, especially when the House is in session here?

SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE: Supposing the Prime Minister had not gone to Germany, then would that not have been done here?

SHRI EDUARDO FALEIRO: Then it would have been announced here.

(Interruptions)

Do not get excited for nothing. Now the position is as follows.

The recognition has to be done by the Prime Minister or with the approval of the Prime Minister. That is point number one.

(Interruptions) Recognition must be done at the earliest after constitutional provisions are fulfilled. (Interruptions) Recognition was done on Saturday when Parliament was not in session.

(Interruptions) It can be done anywhere. That is not the point.

702 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

SHRI SAIFUDDIN CHOUDHURY: No, no.

(Interruptions)

SHRI EDUARDO FALEIRO: Parliament was not in session on Saturday.

SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE: Do not justify.

(Interruptions)

SHRI INDRAJIT GUPTA (Midnapure): Mr. Eduardo Faleiro, do not try to do this squibbling. It is much batter if with a good grace you admit that what has been done does not conform to propriety. We do not want to hear about constitutional things, this and that.

(Interruptions) Nobody is challenging that. Nobody is challenging the fact of recognition. But Parliament is in session. You say that if it had been delayed, then you would have been criticised. There is no question of its being delayed. Parliament is in session all the time.

It should have been announced here. Why should it be announced in Bonn? I want to know that. (Interruptions)

SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE: In what way the presence of the Prime Minister in a given country will decide the location from where the announcement will be made like this? Does it depend on that?

SHRI EDUARDO FALEIRO: Let me put the position before you. Number one, recognition was done at the earliest after fulfilment of the constitutional requirements. Number two, this announcement is made in Parliament at the earliest because on Saturday, Parliament was closed.

On Sunday, it was closed. Today is the first working day of Parliament.

(Interruptions)

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA (Bankura): Why not here in our country, on our soil?

SHRI SAIFUDDIN CHOUDHURY: There are two things. One is you

announce

703 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

[Sh. Saifuddin Choudhury]

it from the soil of India. Another is to make the announcement first in the House. I take it that 7th was a holiday, 8th was a holiday. But why could this announcement not be made in India? That is the point If we have some dignity, we should do that.

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA: He does not reply to this point.

SHRI SAIFUDDIN CHOUDHURY: Why don't you admit?

SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE: There is no sense of propriety or

humility. You are not humble. (Interruptions) You think too big.

(Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN (Shrimati Malini Bhattacharaya): Please sit down.

(Interruptions) I have called Shri Shahabuddin Syed.

(Interruptions)

SHRI SYED SHAHABUDDIN (Kishanganj): Madam Chairperson, the Hon.

Minister is labouring under a misconception of the constitutional and the international legal procedures. With some experience and background,let me inform you that there is no right to be recognised at the earliest. There is not even a right to be recognised and no corresponding duty. A State can decide under its own rules of propriety, decorum, constitution when to accord the recognition. None of us is against the recognition of Baltic States. But what we are saying is, heavens would not have collapsed, had this recognition been delayed by two days in order to conform to the parliamentary propriety of informing the House first when the House is in session. The Baltic States cannot claim, what the Hon. Minister is saying wrongly, that as soon as the constitutional procedures had been fulfilled, recognition must be done. There is no such thing in international law. There is no such thing in constitutional law.

704 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

SHRI EDUARDO FALEIRO: The Hon. Member has not followed what I have said. I have not said that there is a right on the part of the State that claims recognition or otherwise.

I have said that it is proper to have these things - recognition - as soon as the constitutional requirements are fulfilled.

(Interruptions)

SHRI SAIFUDDIN CHOUDURY: Why was not the Prime Minister's

announcement made here? You must have some dignity. (Interruptions) You must admit it. (Interruptions) He is repeating the same thing.

(Interruptions) How can you justify it? (Interruptions)

SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE: Mr. Faleiro, you could have announced it here with the concurrence of the Prime Minister.

SHRI EDUARDO FALEIRO: No, no.

SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE: Why not?

SHRI SAIFUDDIN CHOUDHURY: Is this House not dignified enough to hear this announcement from the Prime Minister in the House?

(Interruptions)

SHRI SYED SHAHABUDDIN: Madam, recognition is normally followed by establishment of diplomatic relations. If the hon. Minister and the Government were in such a great hurry, when are they going to establish diplomatic, missions in the three capitals? (Interruptions) Shri Saifuddin Choudhury: Let him apologise.

(Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Please allow him to answer.

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA: He is not answering (Interruptions)

SHRI EDUARDO FALEIRO: I am an-

705 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

swering every point. If you do not want to understand, what can I do?

(Interruptions)

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA: In spite of the announcement in Germany on the 7th, it was not announced in India. Why? (Interruptions).

SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE: I believe that the Prime Minister

returned on the 8th morning. He could have done it here on the 8th morning itself. What would have happend? (Interruptions)

SHRI SAIFUDDIN CHOUDHURY: Apologise on behalf of the Prime

Minister. (Interruptions)

SHRI EDUARDO FALEIRO: He is absolutely misconceived. If he had not done the recognition at the earliest, then many hon. Members of the House would have criticised the Government (Interruptions) SHRI SAIFUDDIN CHOUDURY: With the approval of the Prime Minister, any other Minister could have done it here at the same time.

(Interruptions)

SHRI EDUARDO FALEIRO: I respectfully submit that these objections are utterly misconceived. Recognition could be done anywhere and if you do not want to understand the point, what can I do?

(Interruptions)

SHRI SAIFUDDIN CHOUDHURY: It is an insult to the House. He is not gracious enough to admit his mistake. It is very wrong.

SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE: This Government wants to avoid the Parliament. Why don't you have the humility to say' I am sorry'? Has the Government not got that feeling? (Interruptions)

SHRI. BASU DEB ACHARIA: Why cannot you apologise for for this?

(Interruptions)

706 Statt. by Minister Recognition by Govt. of the three Baltic States, Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania

MR. CHAIRMAN: Please allow the Minister to speak. (Interruptions)

THE MINISTER OF PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (SHRI GHULAM NABI AZAD): Madam Chairperson, there was no intention on the part of the Government or on the part of the Prime Minister to have any discrespect as far as this House is concerned. Myself and all of us honour the views expressed by the hon. Members on the other side and if they feel so, I must apologize and I would now request the hon.

Minister to make the statement.

-----

15.00 hrs.

PLACE OF WORSHIP (SPECIAL PROVISION) BILL--CONTD.

[Translation]

SHRI MANI SHANKAR AIYAR (Mayiladuturai): Mr. Chairman, Sir, whenever Km. Uma Bharati speaks in the House, she says that she is not educated. Through you, I would like to request her that she need 708 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

not say it because whenever she speaks, one can find it out easily.

Mr. Chairman, Sir, I am an elected Member from Tamil Nadu and I want to speak in English in the House and it seems to me that the Members of different parties who know English agree with me. I am speaking in Hindi here so that the Members of Bhartiya Janata Party, who do not have much acquaintence with English, may understand what I am saying. (Interruptions)

I am specially talking about Uma Bharatiji, who always puts forward such things on behalf of the Bhartiya Janata Party...(Interruptions)

DR. LAXMINARAYAN PANDEYA (Mandsaur): Mr. Chairman, Sir, to say that the hon. Members of Bharatiya Janata Party do not know English is an insult to the hon. Members. It is not wise to insult in such a way.

He should take his words back. (Interruptions)

[English]

SHRI RATILAL VARMA (Dhanduka): Many BJP Members are far superior to you. They are more competent. I challenge the hon. Member. Anyway, what are his qualifications? (Interruptions)

[Translations]

SHRI MANI SHANKAR AIYAR: Mr. Chairman, Sir, I am thankful for this clarification that the Bharatiya Janata Party has adopted the foreign culture and they can speak in English also. I am hopeful that the Members of the Bhartiya Janata Party know English but I do not know as to how much they know about the Indian culture, its history and the Hindu Dharm.

DR. LAXMINARAYAN PANDEYA: Does he consider to be the only

knowledgeable person? (Interruptions)

[English]

MR. CHARIMAN: I request the hon. Member to speak on the Bill only (Interruptions)

709 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

[Translation]

SHRI MANI SHANKAR AIYAR: Mr. Chairman, Sir, Uma Bhartiji told us that when she had visited Varanasi and saw a temple and a mosque together, a feeling came to her that the temple had been domolished.

She considered it to be a disgrace to Hinduism. According to her a Muslim king had built a mosque there. There is only one difference between her and myself, to what she thinks a sign of servility, I take that thing as a symbol of secularism. (Interruptions) Umaji, it is Lok Sabha, not a market. Till you were speaking, I did not utter anything in between. Therefore, I request you that until I am paying you respect, you should not stand. You listen to what I am saying to reduce your narromindedness. When I come across a temple and a mosque together, then I feel that it is a secular country. (Interruptions) I will request you, please listen. You too will get a chance to speak.

[English]

15.21 hrs.

[MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair]

[Translation]

You please do listen

[English]

Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I seek your protection. I am being prevented from speaking. I seek your protection. Please, ask this gentleman to sit down (Interruptions)

[Translation]

The differences between Bhartiya Janata Party and myself is that it understands the last thousand years were, the years of slavery but I think that in these thousand years a new culture, a new religion.

new feelings and new ideas have entered into our country. These influenced and attracted us. I say that if India is the first Hindu country in the world, I also say that

710 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

India is the second Muslim country in the world. After Indonesia, the Muslim population in our country is far more than their population in any other country which include all the gulf countries from Iran to Morocco - Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Turky, Egypt, Libiya, Algeria, Morocco etc. Please count all these, The Muslim population in these countries is less than the Muslim population in India.

SHRI FRANK ANTHONY (Nominated Anglo Indian): It is more than Pakistan also.

SHRI MANI SHANKAR AIYAR: That I have already said. What I mean to say is that as we cannot think of India without Islam in the same way we cannot think of Islam without India. Islam and India are linked in the same way as both myself and Uma Bhartiji have links with humanity.

Sir, since I am a Member from Tamilnadu, I do not know that Hinduism which is called Sanatan Dharm was perhaps brought to India by the Aryans some 5,6 or 7 thousand years ago. They came here after crossing the Hindukush. After coming here they adopted the Dravida culture and especially worshipped Lord Shiva. They linked the worship of Shiva with Sanatan Dharm. What were the results? It is there in Indian History. Then the first synthesis of Indian culture was done. Sorry for using the English word synthesis here. I was not able to find a proper Hindi equivalent for the English word synthesis till date. But I am hopeful that Uma Bharatiji will tell me when she meets me outside the House a proper Hindi word for synthesis. (Interruptions) I understand that it is not a proper word. As a result of that synthesis with Dravid civilization, its language and religion, the Sanathan Dharm, is surviving in this country even after several thousands of years.

There is no Hindu in Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Russia, Bulgaria, Hungary and Austria. Hitler used to say in Germany that they were Aryans. Even there too, there is no Hindu...(Interruptions)

In any country the Hindu religion was inflicted with those narrow outlooks which

711 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

[Sh. Mani Shankar Aiyar]

the Bhartiya Janata Party wants to impose on the Hindu religion today.

We are surviving here because we have always asserted that we will keep our mind open. All of our windows will remain open and our door will remain open to all. We have full confidence in overselves.

We will accept any influence from outside if it is good, but we can not admit if it has any flaw.

Lord Budha and Mahavir Jain were born in this country. They were so much disillusioned with the Hindu religion that they pronounced to evolve new religion. What did the Hindus do? They adopted the philosophy of Lord Budha and Mahavir, why did we adopt it? When Jesus Christ died as a martyr, he had his 12 followers who are called 12 apostles. St. Peter journeyed towards Rome and St. Thomas came to India. St. Thomas visited India before St. Peter reached Rome. The oldest church of the world is in India. This church in India is older than that of the Catholics church in Rome.

The present form of Hinduism was introduced by Adi Sankaracharya.

Adi Shankaracharya was born 1200 years back and it was he who gave us the philosophy of `Advaita' 1200 years back. Adi Shankaracharya was born 800 years before jesus christ and Hajrat Mohammad was born 200 years before. It is only after then that we have this latest form of the Hindu religion. It is such a unique religion which took five thousand years to complete its journey from its inception. It's journey from the `Ragvela' to the philosophy of Advaitiam took five thousand years. We always remained open-minded. We assert that we should adopt any good idealogy coming from anywhere if it has certain goodness. So, we did not collapse when Islam made its advent here. We exchanged our knowledge. I would like to give two examples.

What is the reason for Bhakti Movement having started after the advent of Islam? Our Hindu society was deficient in the feelling of equality. The Brahmin priests used to per-

712 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

form their religious rites in the temples in a unique language Sanskrit. Acharya Ramanujam came out of the temples and he acquainted people with Sanskrit spoken hitherto in ritual rites. We learned from them that when one went to a mosque, he might find that the poorest of the poor and the Sultan sit together at the same place and wash their hands and mouth with the same water and perform their namaj together.

It was the Muslims from who we learned how to pray collectively to god and they too learned some things from us. If you happen to visit a Dargah you will find that `qawwali' is going on there. I had an opportunity to travel from Indonesia to Algeria. Except morocoo there is no muslim country in the world which I have not visited.

I have seen that except Indian subcontinent nowhere in the world `qawwali' is sung in the Dargah, because Indian Muslims saw that bhajans were sung in our temples. They thought that they could establish a communion with god through songs alone and hence `qawwali' was introduced. Does the Indian team need an Azharuddin to defeat the Pakistan team in the field of cricket.

There is an instrument `Nadaswaram' which is a must in every temple in Tamilnadu. When you visit a temple you will certainly find a `Nadswaram' there. Sheikh Chinna Maulana is the most famous exponent of `Nadswaram' in my state Tamilnadu. Sheikh Chinna Maulana a muslim has been sent to Germany, where `Bharat Mahotsav' has started recently. He has been sent there to introduce Germans to one of the many facets of Indian music.

If you looks at the picture of goddess `Saraswati'

(Interruptions)

I request you to hear me. When you look at the picture of Saraswati, you will always find a `Rudraveena' in her hands. Till now in the year 1991, there is only one person who is a master on playing `Rudraveena' throughout India and he is Ustad Asad Ali Khan - the 713 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

head of the Department of music in Delhi University who introduced `Sitar of which Pt. Ravi Shankar is a master. It was manufactured in a Dargah, the dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia. Hazrat Amir Khusro had invented it. The Hindi language in which I am speaking has its origin in that very dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia. On the other hand, Amir Khusro took some words from the `Brajbhasha' of Lord Krishna in the Hindu religion and some others from Arabic, some from Turkey and some from Persian. Who was the greatest poet of Hindi? It was Hazrat Amir Khusro, a muslim. The civilization we have is not merely Hindu civilization. I do not say that the Hindu religion is not the basis of Indian civilization. I do not say that India gained nothing from the Hindu religion. She has got a lot. But at the same time, something continued to be added in it. Whatever we got, we accepted it.

When Mahatma Gandhi read `Sermon on Mount' in the Bible only after that he was bable to learn as to what was written in the Bhagawat Geeta. In its true sense Gandhi told that first it necessitated become a good Christian before becoming a good Hindu.

Thus he spoke, and why he did so, it was because he was a great Hindu.

Our guide Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru was almost an atheist. The person I regard as the greatest one was Gandhiji alone. He never said the one has to become narrowminded for the sake of becoming a Hindu. He never said that in our country.

KUMARI UMA BHARTI: Please reply to my question. (Interruptions) SHRI MANI SHANKAR AIYAR: Madam please sit down. I did not

interrupt you.

[English]

I am not yielding. Please ask her to sit down.

THE MINISTER OF STATE OF THE MINISTRY OF STEEL (SHRI. SONTOSH MOHAN DEV): For the time being, he is not yielding.

714 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: In this House, every hon. Member has got a right to express his views. But frequent interference is not really fair. You will also get a chance to rebut. So, my request is let us have patience in this House.

[Translation]

SHRI MANI SHANKAR AIYAR: While looking at the people of this country we must not forget that 85% of the population is that of Hindus and only 15% is that of other communities. The downtrodden class have to be assured that they need not associate them selves with Muslims in order to be true Indians. I have seen in my constituency...

(Interruptions)... Sir, in the end I would like to say that in Tamil Nadu, barring North Arcot the largest number of Muslims inhabit in my constituency where one out of every six voters is a Muslim. In the last election, in my Constituency, the security deposit of the B.J.P.

candidate and that of the I.U.M.L. (Samad Group) candidate, Shri Abdus Samad was for feited. How? When I was conducting my election campaign in my constituency, in nearly every village...

SHRI ANNA JOSHI (Pune): Sir, what is the subject of his speech?

SHRI MANI SHANKAR AIYER: As I was saying that nearly every

village has a mosque with a temple in close proximity. Hindus and Muslims are living in harmony. This is because there is no presence of the V.H.P., R.S.S. or the Bajrang Dal in that area. So it is our duty to check the spread of the poisonous influence of such organisations.

We must not forget the volcano of communalism which erupted in 1947 and the second time it happened was when Shri. V.P. Singh took the support of B.J.P. We are seeing a saffron wave in the form of 117 MPs which is the result of wrong policies adopted by the National Front.

Had they not taken the support of the B.J.P. we should not have been in this situation today. I respect Shri. V.P. Singh. The blessings which I got from him when he was Finance Minister would not have been received by anyone else. Today

715 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

there is an opportunity for secular forces to come together and fight communal forces and get rid of the politics of communalism.

[English]

SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE (Bolpur): We fully support this Bill and we are happy that today Parliament is concerning itself with a very important subject which has assumed great urgency in this country.

Also it is a matter of concern that even after four decades since Independence we have to consider a legislation of this nature to keep the country united and to stop communal holocaust in this country.

When I was listening to the speech of the distinguished Member of BJP from

Khajurao, it struck me that the Bill was not only justified but it was long overdue. I can easily understand how the poison of communalism and religious bigotry was spread during the last election campaign and just prior thereto and how the people had been sought to be divided on religious and communal lines only for the benefit of a political party.

If we trace the history a little back, we know how this communal fanatacism was fanned by a political party which had almost hegemonigtic control over the administration of the country believing in dynastic inevitability and how they had compromised with secularism in the case of Sahaban and how a legislation was brought in here with a view to nullify a considered verdict of the highest court of the land and how the rights of Muslim women were consciously taken away primarily with a view to pander to the fundamentalist demands. That had its consequence. We have seen how the controversy that erupted and is still going on with regard to the Babri Masjid and Ram Janma Bhoomi was really fuelled by the shillaniyas ceremony which the then Home Minister organised with the blessings of the then Prime Minister.

The real object was not to construct a

716 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

temple or to look after the mosque but to pander to the communal sentiments of the majority community in this country, only for the purpose of election. Shri Mani Shankar Aiyer has been speaking eloquently. But, these things should not be forgotten. It is not only today that we criticise the BJP, we do criticise. We think it is a cancer in our body polity. But, you have started that...

(Interruptions). How they had been showing softness towards them? We had also seen here even in the Tenth Lok Sabha how sometimes they started fighting among themselves and we have seen how that fight and bravado between these two sections on the right and left where I am standing, ended in coming like love-birds and how a marriage was consummed and we had the result here. Therefore, I would request the Congress Party also to search their hearts. If you wake up now, if you now realise the danger of the policies that you had adopted over the years, it would be better for the country.

This Bill is no ;doubt is the direct result of the resolution which was moved in this House by Comrade Zainal Abedin, a member of our party. During the discussion, Comrade Abedin had very appropriately pointed to the great dangers that this country is facing because of communal divide created by religious and communal frenzy in the name of temple and other places of worship. The speeches delivered during that discussion also underline the importance and the urgent necessity of enacting a law like the present one and we had pressed for that only. After such an assurance was given for introduction of this Bill that Resolution was withdrawn and I am glad that the Government work up to the necessity of the early introduction of the Bill and I am happy that they have brought it for passing of the Bill in this very session itself.

SHRI INDRJIT (Darjeeling): It is in their Manifesto also.

SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE: It is good that the Congress has copied other Manifestoes. The point is why must we fight in this country in the name of religion? We feel that religion is a matter of one's personal

717 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

faith, one's own devotion and attachment on the basis of one's own perception. Why should there be public exhibition or why should it be a matter of mutual recrimination and confrontation? The religion should not be a matter of political formulation and exploitation.

The bane of public life in this country is the motivated mixture of religions with politics. A nation's ills can never be solved by religious precepts and prescriptions. One may perhaps achieve peace of mind by following his religious faith and belief, to which he is most welcome but peace among the nation and the people by merely following some religious dogmas and dictates can not be brought. Dividing the people on the basis of religion shaps the nations strength and as you have seen in this country with horror, how people have turned themselves into beasts, how innocent people have been killed in the name of religion; how they have been maimed in the name of religion, how people's properties have been lost in the name of religion.

This has only created more and more chasm among the people of our nation. We have already suffered tremendously because of some people's exploitation of religion for achieving political objectives.

This great country of ours has been partitioned on the basis of religion alone. As a subject nation, we had fallen prey to the machinations of the foreign rulers and writingly or unwittingly, compromised with evil, which resulted in the division of the country on religious basis. But as an independent nation, shall we be frittering our energy in perpetualing and mutual distress, hatred and animosity?

I consider that the anguished soul of India does not today cry for a new temple or a mosque or a gurudwara. What it seeks is a dignifiied and civilized living for all its people, irrespective of caste, creed or religion. It clamours that all our people have two square meals a day have a roof over their head, ability to read and write, and freedom from

718 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

exploitation, hunger, starvation, unemployment, ill-health and squalor. Which religion itself will assure them these minimal rights?

We have no death of problems in our country. We are passing through the acutest economic problems created, no doubt, primarily by the party which has been in power in and this country for nearly over three nd a half decades. We are passing through a serious situation in different parts of the country where our country's unity and integrity are at stake. So far as the economic malady is concerned, we have almost lost our economic Independence. We have surrendered to the dictates of organisations like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which are acting at the dictates of big imperialist powers.

The Left Parties have consistently followed the principles of secularism and have never compromised with fundamentalist ideas and fundamentalist policies. Religions fundamentalism will never solve any of our mundane problems, nor will it give a new identity to our people, as it is being said. It will only perpetuate the division, create fear and hatred amongst the people.

So far as the details of this Bill are concerned, we would have been happier if Ayodhya dispute had been included. But we accept the position. We have always said that that issue, which has become a great emotional issue in this country, should be solved by mutual discussion, with love and respect for each other by sitting across the table, not by fighting, not by animosity, and if that is not possible, then all parties must accept the decision of the judicial authority where the proceedings are pending now. That is our view and on that basis we demand of the Government - and that was the assurance that had been given on the floor of the House while we withdrew our Resolution - that so far as Ayodhya is concerned, there will be no compromise by the Government and they will see that this is resolved by mutual discussion or by judicial verdict.

So far as the other places of worship are concerned, as I said, it seems to have been

719 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

[Sh. Somnath Chatterjee]

overdue. We have got a letter form the Vishva Hindu Parishad, circulated by Shri Ashok Singhal to the Members of Parliament in relation to this Bill. It says, Inter-alia,

"Our Dharmacharyas, in their wisdom, with a view to maintain cordial relations between Hindus and Muslims and to foreclose this issue for future, have made a modest demand limited to the restoration of only three most important Shrines at Ayodhya (Sri Ram Janma Bhumi); Mathura (Sri Krishna Janmasthan) and Varanasi (Sri Vishwanath Temple)."

Therefore, the Vishva Hindu Parishad has taken upon itself the so-called task of converting these places. The letter also says how they are trying to bring in emotional issues. I quote:

"Can any one think that Bhagwan Krishna was born in an Idgah?

Apparently not".

He is not very sure either. He says apparently not. Does he know where Lord Krishna was born? How these ideas and impressions are sought to be circulated amongst the people to rouse communal and religious frenzy? Where was he born? Was He born in a Mandir? Which Mandir was that? Who constructed that Mandir? This is the sort of propaganda that is being made.

He further says in the same letter:

"These are not simple temples but places of manifestations of our Lords and together with the deity, the site itself is an object of worship".

I think those who believe in God, believe that God resides everywhere.

He is omnipresent. Why must He remain only in that temple? Or only at that site? The letter says

720 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

that the Lord's manifestations are understood only at that site.

The narrow type of fundamentalist ideas are being preached, with a view not to save the Hindus - because Hindus do not require any protection in this country - but only to get political benefit out of religion.

As has been correctly said, where was this trouble? There was no controversy. Shri Ram Vilas Paswan has correctly said. Where was this controversy between Ram Janmabhoomi and Babri Masjid? As I have indicated, it has been fanned, it has been created.

It was thought that Uttar Pradesh, with its predominant Hindu majority, would come to the fold of the then ruling party so far as electoral equation was concerned. Now that object has boomeranged.

This is being continued now with a view to find a foothold in Indian politics.

Unfortunately we cannot ignore it. These forces have succeeded to some extent. Although the B.J.P. had fought the election with a call for formation of a Government at the Centre, they did not get more than 21 percent votes throughout the country. And in Uttar Pradesh, where their main plank of electioneering was the construction of temple at Ayodhya, they got only 32.9 per cent votes. Therefore, it is not correct to project to the people of this country or try to create an impression that the majority or the people of the majority of even Hindus have supported their call for construction of temple as they have included in their manifesto.

SSHRI NIRMAL KANTI CHATTERJEE (Dum Dum): it is 32 per cent of the 50 per cent of votes polled.

SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE: Yes, correctly said. Polling in Uttar Pradesh was very low. It was 50 per cent. So 32 per cent of the 50 per cent of the voters have voted in favour of the B.J.P. On the basis of that, an impression is sought to be created that the people of Uttar Pradesh have supported

721 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

their call for construction of temple. And then what do we see after the new B.J.P. Government was installed there?

16.00 hrs.

The entire Cabinet had gone to Ayodhya for the purpose of taking an oath to construct a temple and they have fix up a date, 18th of November 1991. What will happen to this country, I do not know. And we have been told that they are going to pass an ordinance for take over of that land. If that is done, what will be the situation in this country? Sir, will the country's progress depend on that? Will we be able to solve our problems on the basis of that? What will be achieved? Sir, as has been said, nobody minds a temple being constructed. Those who wish to go to a temple, those who wish to perform puja, let them have as many temples as they like. But at what cost? At whose expense? Can you try to affect the sentiments of a minority in this country, of any people for that matter in this country by saying that we shall demolish a religious structure just with a view to pander to the majority fundamentalism in this country, majority demand in this country? Sir, that would be a very sad day. We have to be careful about the danger that is lurking. For the continuous attempt to rouse frenzy. In this country for political advantage, all other forces will have to fight, and in this connection, Sir, we should have to fight unitedly and whoever will come and support us in that fight, which the Left parties have consistently been fighting for secularism in this country, fighting communal elements, fundamentalist elements, nobody can say that we have ever compromised with this evil. Then everybody, all right thinking people, should join and then fight this menace which is going to tear apart this country.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker, Sir we therefore support this Bill. Our country where people have different religions, speaking different languages, having different cultures, have been living together and, Sir, our basic theme is unity in diversity. We cannot give up the unity of this country. Our country's future will be the bleakest possible if today we continue

722 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

fighting amongst ourselves on the basis of religion or language or caste.

Sir, as I have said earlier, we have no dearth of problems. In this very House this morning we were discussing the situation in Assam, we have been discussing frequently the situation in Punjab, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, and those situations are crying for earliest possible settlement. Should we not totally concentrate our energies in solving these problem. Our problems of economic difficulty, the povetry that is still there which is eating at the vitals of our common people of this country, the illiteracy which is still a disgrace so far as we are concerned? People are living on pavements, they are being born on pavements, living on pavements and dying on pavements. People in this country are dying without any medical treatment, people are dying of starvation, and unemployment.

Instead of tackling these very serious issues and problems, if the country today fritters away its energies in fratricidal conflict, that would be a very very sad day for us. That is why we feel that at least so far as this big bone of contention as to whether a particular place of worship should be a masjid or a temple is concerned, this should be ended here and now by the passage of this Bill and so far as Ayodhya is concerned, that should be settled amicably or through judicial verdict, as we have said. And, Sir, on that basis we support this Bill.

THE MINISTER OF PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (SHRI GHULAM NABI AZAD): Sir, I thank hon. Members Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar, Shri Ram Vilas Paswan and Shri Somnath Chatterjee for having spoken on this Bill. I join them in supporting this Bill.

I think it is after a long time that such a historic Bill has been introduced in this House. Historic in the sense that once again the Congress, the leftist parties and those who believe in secularism have tried to strengthen India's unity and integrity. Today on this occasion I pay my tributes to the late Shri Rajiv Gandhi. When the party manifesto was being prepared he took personal interest in it, particularly when this point was being

723 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

[Sh. Ghulam Nabi Azad]

discussed. Although he is not with us today, we are trying to fulfill his dream. There cannot be a greater tribute to him. We are proud of great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi who sacrificed their lives for the country, but did not compromise on their principles. They have sacrificed their lives for the unity and integrity of the country. Shri Rajiv Gandhi, as Prime Minister and also when he was out of power, faced a lot of political pressure that a particular vote bank would become annoyed with him, but he included this point in his election manifesto regardless of these things. We are proud that today we are here to implement that manifesto.

Sir, what is its objective? We were under the impression that such a situation would not arise after 1947. At the time of partition some people went over to Pakistan and some stayed here. I used to think that henceforth communalism would not be used for political gain and India would be a place where everyone would be first and foremost an Indian and there would be no question of efforts to disintegrate the nation. I regret to say that after 1947 once again there are people, be they in Kashmir... I don't support whatever is happening in Kashmir (Interruptions) You are also responsible for it. If you had refrained from making such statements, they would not have been so encouraged.

(Interruptions)

If you had not raised separatist slogans, they too would not have raised such slogans.

[English]

That credit also goes to you. You are also responsible for that.

(Interruptions)

MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: My request is, you kindly here me. Every Member in the House has got liberty to express his opinion within the framework of the rules and regula-

724 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

tions of this House. You may not agree with whatever he says.

(Interruptions)

MR DEPUTY-SPEAKER: Please sit down.

We should have the patience of hearing others. He is not the last speaker. There is also chance for others. At that time, they can politely, mildly, reasonably, logically rebutt it. This is a forum where we shall have to conduct the proceedings of the House with due respect to the parliamentary procedures and traditions. Kindly bear it in mind. I do not like to wound the feelings of the others. This is my humble request.

SHRI GHULAM NABI AZAD: Mr. Deputy-Speaker, Sir, I would like to make it clear that I have not mentioned the name of the BJP anywhere.

I have mentioned about the people; those who are trying to disintegrate the country. If they feel that they are disintegrating, what can I do?

(Interruptions)

[Translation]

"How can I mention your party's name. I have not mentioned your party's name. If the conscience pricks the guilty, what can I do...

(Interruptions)...

SHRI VINAY KATIYAR (Faizabad): I was saying that the issue of Jammu and Kashmir is being side lined and all the allegations are being levelled against one particular party. Even today, compensation is being paid to the persons being killed in the State, on the basis of religious affiliations. Before compensation is paid, religious affiliations are duly veified, whether the person belongs to Hindu or Muslim community. This sort of politickying is going on in the State... (Interruptions)...

MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: At this rate, we cannot do justice to the subject. After all, this is the House which represents the entire 725 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

nation. The people are watching us. Eyes are seeing us. The people from all over the country come and visit Parliament. Therefore, we expect some sort of restraint over our dealing in this matter.

SHRI GHULAM NABI AZAD: Sir, my friends, on the other side should not misunderstand it.

In our country, we have the Hindu fundamentalism. We have Muslim fundamentalism; we have Sikh fundamentalism.

I do not see any reason why a particular party should have any objection. I have not mentioned any religion; I have not mentioned the name of any political party. I am just talking in general. They can be from any political party; they can be from any religion. I do not find any reason why a particular political party should have any objection to what I am speaking about.

[Translation]

Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, India is a land of rishis, sadhus and sufi saints and to my mind all the sufi saints born in India have always preached unity and universal love and affection through out their lives. All these saints never preached hatred, but communal harmony. As I mentioned earlier, at the time of independence in 1947, it was felt that all those Muslims who want Pakistan had left India and went to to Pakistan and the remaining Muslims who wanted to live in India, remained in this country. I fail to understand on how many; occasions they will be required to demonstrate their loyalty towards India. I am proud of being an Indian even though I am a muslim. Has anyone got doubts about my sincerity?... (Interruptions)... Why are you interrupting, I am not referring to you.

Therefore, the time has come when through this Bill we can impose some check on some political parties which adopt the religion as a mean to win the Election be it a Lok Sabha or Legislative Assembly election. In my opinion, there is no law more effective

726 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

than this law, to maintain the unity and integrity of the country.

Poverty is an acute problem for this country where lakhs of people are living below the poverty line. The people need education, food, roads, bridges and housing. If the political parties instead of concentrating on these problems resort to politicking and divert the attention of masses in the name of religion, we can not march on the path of progress. I think one more opportunity has come before us through this Bill to rise above casteism and religious fundamentalism. All the religions communities living in India whether it be Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians or Budhists are Indians and we should make a efforts against poverty, unemployment and price rise in the country. If these problems are overlooked and the attention of the people diverted, then another opportunity will not come our way to take the country into 21 st century, and we want that all the people of the country unitedly march forward.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to put a question, how long this bloodshed will continue? How long this communal frenzy will go on unchecked in the various parts of the country. The people are killing each other. Unfortunately, our Army , B.S.F. and CRPF primarily responsible for safeguarding the borders of the country, are being deployed to safeguard the lives of people within the country. There cannot be anything more unfortunate than deployment of Army to protect lives of people within the country. The main reason of the present situation is the creation of religious fundamentalism in India and as long as this goes on unabated the communal frenzy will not be stopped.

Peace and harmony will not be established. India is the largest democracy in the world. Unless we stop, the religious exploitation of the people, we cannot improve our democratic set up. I am not talking about any particular religion, it is applicable to all the religions.

If unity and integrity are in danger, independence of the country is also under threat. The main duty is to stop religious exploitation for narrow political ends. As my colleague just now stated who stops whom to enter the Parliament. No party or religion

727 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

[Sh. Ghulam Nabi Azad]

is banned from forming the Government in the country. But we do not want any Government to be formed on the basis of religion, because that will be the first step towards the disintegration of the country.

The hon. Members of the other side are welcome to form the Government, but it should be based on policies, programmes, development, unity and integrity and unity among Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians. Only then the Government will be acceptable to all the countrymen. But if the Government is formed on the basis of religious exploitation, neither it will function smoothly nor the country will progress.

Neither exploiters have achieved success northey can in future.

Inaugurating the Bakhra Dam, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru had mentioned that these are our temples and mosques because these projects provide us water and food. But we do not pay our attention towards that and we are indulging in Mandir-Masjid controversy. We misguide the people on these issues and take political gains out of it. Accordingto Pt.

Nehru, temples and mosques are those which irrigate the fields, supply us food and leads the nation towards advancement. I support the Bill.

During election compaign in Ahmedabad, I can across a Board put up by the Citizens Forum, which appealed me much, I think it was not of yours ... (Interruptions)... On the board, it was written-

"Mandir, Masjid, Girijaghar Ne

Banto Liya Bhagwan Ko,

Dharti Banto, Sagar Banto, Mat

Ban to, Insan Ko."

[English]

SHRI INDRAJIT GUPTA(Midnapore): Mr. Deputy-Speaker, Sir, our Party wholeheartedly and unreservedly supports this Bill. And everybody knows that for a long time it has been our demand that a Bill to this effect should be put on the statute book. It is, of course, dealing with only one particular issue. It is not a Bill or a legislation which can solve the whole problem of communalism. But it is something which is essential, which

728 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

should have been done earlier and which will go along way, I hope, to defuse the situation which is sought to be created arising out of this particular temple and mosque controversy.

I think, in the last few years, our country has earned quite a bad name because of the spectacle that we have presented to the world, of people belonging to different religious faiths indulging in violant type of riots and conflicts with each other many speakers have referred to it already resulting in the deaths of thousands of innocent people including women and children, crores of property being destroyed; security being completely ruined. This is the spectacle which I do not think, has earned our country a good name anywhere in the world. In fact, it gives an opportunity, a handle to those who are really the enemies of our country to further malign us. I think, if this Bill could be passed in this House unanimously, which I do not suppose it will be, it has, of course, a very limited context referring to only one issue, buteverybody knows that it is such an explosive issue, it has been made into an explosive issue, I think it would go a long way to redeem the good name of India abroad which has been dispersed. I am appealing to my BJP friends here not to oppose the Bill and think of ourselves, all sitting in this House, in the Lok Sabha first and the foremost as Indians who have got a responsibility and a duty to see that the image of our country, not only here but abroad, is raised higher.

Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar made this reference to the fact that if Shri V.P.Singh's Government had not depended on the BJP\ for support and had not taken their support, then perhaps the BJP's influence or the BJP's morale would not have increased to the extent to which it has. Well, he knows very well, I hope, he knows, it may have been a mistake, tactical. But certainly, there was no question of any programmatic or political unity which led to that equation of forces.

But I will say one thing, not for the sake of accusing each other because this is too serious an occasion, when Shri V.P.Singh's Government was pulled off, when

729 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

the BJP withdrew its support, it was on this issue and not on any other issue. It was on this single issue of whether you will permit the kar sewa to be performed there at Ayodhya or not. It was said, "if there is going to be any interference, if the karsewa people will be stopped or arrested or repressed and if Mr. Advani's Rath Yatra is not allowed to reach that place, then we will immediately withdraw the support to the Government." That was the issue. Whatever may have happened before that, but that was the single issue on which the BJP withdrew the support. That was the ultimatum which was given. That was the ultimatum which was given and nothing else was mentioned in that ultimatum. It was read out in the House when we were debating the Vote of Confidence Motion. I am saying this because, at that time my Congress friend should not take it amiss, I was deputed by my Party to go and meet Shri Rajiv Gandhi, the Leader of the Opposition Party here argue with him that any time he wanted to pull down Shri V.P.Singh's Government, it could be done on so many other issues.

On that particular day, on that occasion, when the voting is going to be taken for or against the Government, on the issue which the BJP had brought, I said, you should not compromise yourself by siding with them. Why cannot you vote along with them? We believed that the Congress, as a party, was a secular party. It had got a secular programme; it was committed to secular principles. Whatever they may do, from time to time, due to compulsions of other factors, it was certainly a secular party and it was not a communal party. I pleaded with Shri Rajiv Gandhi for some considerable time, saying that on that particular occasion he should disassociate himself from those people, who want to pull down the Government for the reason that it had said firmly and uncompromisingly that they will not allow the temple to be built on the site, where the mosque was standing. He could have compromised with them, if he wanted to save his skin; he could have tried to make a compromise, he could have gone for some sort of compromise....(Interruptions)...

730 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

SHRI MANI SHANKAR AIYAR (Mayiladutuai): In which case, you would have withdrawn your support. It was not programmatic support; it was pragmatic support; and it was the pragmatic opportunism of Shri V.P.

Singh.(Interruptions)

SHRI INDRAJITGUPTA:That was why, we have precisely supported the Government and they stood firm on that point. We cannot do some thing which goes against the very secular fabric of this country; we cannot do something which is in violation of the constitution.(Interruptions) THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF INDUSTRY (PROF. P.J.

KURIEN): You could think supporting he Government, along with the BJP for eleven months!

[Translation]

SHRI SURYA NARAYAN YADAV (Saharsa): It is totally wrong. Your party supported the BJP in bringing down the Government.

(Interruptions)

[English]

SHRI INDRAJIT GUPTA: We never supported on this issue. What I am saying is, unfortunately, it was not proper to criticise somebody, who was no longer with us, that Shri Rajiv Gandhi, did not respond to that request, for whatever reason it may be. I do not want to go in to those arguments. (Interruptions)

SHRI MANI SHANKAR AIYAR: But he gave the reasons!

SHRI INDRAJIT GUPTA: The reason that he had given was that Shri V.P. Singh was fellow, whom he cannot support. That was his only argument. (Interruptions)

SHRI MANISHANKAR AIYAR: He gave the reasons....(Interruptions) SHRI INDRAJIT GUPTA: Shri Mani Shankar, he said to me:

"Indrajitji, you want

731 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

[Sh. Indrajit Gupta]

me to support this man who has done all these other things". I said, " I am not asking you to support him. I am asking you not to oppose on this particular issue and on the next day you can pull down this Government on any other issue and I do not mind that. It was your bonafides your secular bonafides which were on test."

In the 1989 elections, you know that Shri Rajiv Gandhi opened his election campaign from Ayodhya by giving the slogan of Ram Rajya...(Interruptions)

SHRI MANI SHANKAR AIYAR: That was Mahatma Gandhi's slogan. Why do you communalise a secular statement? (Interruptions)

PROF. P.J. KURIEN: When the discussion was taking place, you could have said it and not today.(Interruptions)

SHRI INDRAJITGUPTA: I am not yielding to you. Please sit down.

(Interruptions)

That is why, that opening speech of his election campaign was so exuberantly greeted with slogans of Hara Hara Mahadev, Hara Hara Mahadev. Do you know who was sitting with him?

SHRI MANI SHANKAR AIYAR: I was present on that occasion. I beg Shri Indrajit Gupta not to defame the memory and the words of a great leader. (Interruptions)

MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER: The procedure and the system which is being followed in this House is that if any hon. Member is speaking, and if for a clarification who wish to put a question or ask any hon. Member should raise his hand and request the hon. Member who is speaking and if he yields to that request, them only he is permitted to do that. I think it would be better, if we follow it.

(Interruptions)

732 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

SHRI BHOGENDRA JHA (Madhubani): But can the Minister be allowed to do that?(Interruptions)

MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Rules are common to every hon. Member in this House.

SHRI GHULAM NABI AZAD: I may request Indrajit Guptaji, since Shri Rajiv Gandhi is no more with us, not to mention what had transpired between them because we do not know the other part.

SHRI INDRAJIT GUPTA: I said it because Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar said he knows the other part. He claims to know the other part that is why I said it. Perhaps he does know.

I understand there are electoral compulsions and other compulsions that operate on all of us. Nobody has a monopoly on that, I know. Sometimes when there are some deviations, you may call it opportunism. None of us here is innocent of that. Some deviations took place from the strict principles which we are formally committed to.

Now I will say something which may provoke you. I hope it does not. The other day, for three days when my friends here held up the proceedings of the House and for three days they did not allow the Lok Sabha to function, what was it over? It was because a Member on that side a Ministerto boot, had used an expression outside somewhere in some press conference against their party.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not against their party.

SHRI INDRAJIT GUPTA: Well, he said it outside in his Press

conference. When he spoke here, he did not mention any party by name.

So, they took affront to that and they said it must be with drawn in some form or the other. Somebody on behalf of the Government must make it clear on the floor of the House that what that Minister said does not represent the views of the Government, They should disapprove of it or disassociate from it or do something. I must say, for three days 733 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

we were having a series of consultation meetings as to how to get over this impasse. The hon. Speaker was taking initiative in that. This side was determined, inflexible saying that it is not going to allow the House to proceed until the term which has been used against their party was either withdrawn or something was done. The other side, represented by the Leader of the House, was equally inflexible. They said, no we cannot do such a thing, we are not going to do it, we cannot disown a member of our party or a minister by saying that we do not agree with what he said. They were equally inflexible. This went on for three days. And then suddenly this great inflexibility overnight evaporated into such wonderful flexibilty that both sides were ready to vote together to put you in the Chair Sir! I don't grudge that.

SHRI MANI SHANKAR AIYAR: That is because the Deputy Speaker is not a Desh Drohi.

SHRI INDRAJIT GUPTA: Those in whose company you were voting by agreement were Desh Drohis according to you?

SHRI RAM NAIK(Bombay North): Now if you vote along with them on this Bill, does it mean that you agree with them?

SHRI INDRAJIT GUPTA: The whole controversy which has been worked up is over the alleged birth place of Lord Rama. I for one have not been convinced by any evidence which has been produced up-till now that that very site where Babri Masjid now stands was the birth place of Lord Rama.

Previously some months earlier when this controversy was raging, it used to be said by my friends here that no evidence of proof is required. When crores of our Hindu brothers and sisters are convinced in their minds and hearts that this is the birth place, that is enough. What more proof or evidence do you need? But later on, because some method was evolved of two sides sitting together and producing what ever documents

734 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

and various evidences they had, then things started coming up. But nothing was proved, nothing was established.

Anyway, there are about not less than one thousand temple in Ayodhya. Between Faizabad and Ayodhya, small, medium and large sized temples and shrines must be not less than 1,000. If you go to them, if you visit them or visit most of them, you will find that the purohit there in his particular temple is equally assured that it is his place where Ram was born and not the other place. How are you going to prove or disprove these things? How are you going to prove that there was a temple there which was destroyed by Babar and then Babri Masjid was built? I do not, Sir.

The whole group of people, who are supposed to be eminent historians, have gone into this matter. They have said that there is not a shred of evidence. (Interruptions) Babar came here in the year 1526. By that time, Tulsidas's Ramayan was already out. Everybody know about it.

SHRI MANI SHANKAR AIYAR: After that. (Interruptions)

SHRI INDRAJIT GUPTA: After 1570. (Interruptions) No, that was Valmiki's (Interruptions) None of those neither Tulsidas, nor Valmiki, nor this Ramchrit Manas anywhere makes a mention of a thing like this that there was a Ram temple there which was destroyed by this foreign invader, called Babar. And he destroyed it and built a mosque there.

(Interruptions) So, I am afraid, the case of the BJP and the Vishva Hindu Parishad does not rest on any reliable evidence whatsoever. He must have been born somewhere obviously. (Interruptions)

SHRI RAM NAIK: Ram was a literary figure. He was not born.

(Interruptions)

SHRI INDRAJIT GUPTA: He was not born anywhere! You are throwing a new light on the whole issue. (Interruptions) If he was not born anywhere, then why do you insist?

(Interruptions)

735 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

SHRI RAM NAIK: We are teaching you the lessons of history. You do not know where Ram was born.

SHRI INDRAJIT GUPTA: I know that Ram must have been born in Kaushalya's womb. Where else he must have been born? He must have been conceived in the womb of Kaushalya. But where that Garbha Grahaya was, nobody knows. So the insistence and the propaganda that the BJP has spread all through the country among millions and millions of people in the villages, rural people, uneducated people, illiterate people, saying that that very spot is his birth-place, has led to this whole commotion.

So, I think that it is better now that the BJP thinks about this matter and does not go on indulging in the kind of fundamentalist agitation which is having dire consequences.

The other point I want to make is that I am not bothered about the Vishva Hindu Parishad because they are not a political party, they say. They are some sort of other outfit. But BJP is very much a political party. It is a major Opposition party in the Indian Parliament. They are bound by the Constitution on which they take the oath. Every single Member has to take the oath on the Constitution. My contention is that you cannot take an oath on this Constitution of the Republic of India and then go outside and start preaching the slogan of Hindu Rashtra. It cannot be reconciled. The Hindu Rashtra slogan is a slogan which goes directly against the integrity and the unity of this country. If a Hindu Rashtra means a Hindu State, if that is a slogan which is permissible and acceptable, then so is Khalistan. How can you combat the people who are propagating Khalistan if you go on talking here about Hindu Rashtra? You are only helping those people, those extremists who there are talking about the necessity of a separate Khalistan State and can say that look, we have no option because the majority Hindus, who are in India, are going to create a Hindu Rashtra. Then for the Sikhs, it will be impossible to live here.

They have to have a separate State. (Interruptions) You are only giving them

736 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

ammunition. That is all. (Interruptions)

SHRI RAM NAIK: There is a substantial difference between the concept of a nation and a State. We are not saying that this is Hindu State. Hindu Rashtra is a cultural concept. Nobody has said that in this Hindu State means only Hindus can stay here. (Interruptions) If Vishva Hindu Parishad had said this at any time, if you can show that the Hindu Vishva Parishad had said that Hindu nation and Hindu State are one and the same, we are ready to agree with you. (Interruptions) SHRI INDRAJIT GUPTA: Enough has been said already in this debate to prove that we do not accept this thesis that there is only one culture in this country. It is a country of many cultures and many religions. This is a composite country in which so many cultures have fused together and that is the Indian culture of which we are proud of. Do not try to give a sectarian connotation that it has a culture belonging only to Hindus. This is not acceptable and this country will not remain united, if the Khalistanis, you people and other people go on in this way. If this will go on, this country will be broken into pieces. Already some people in the North-Eastern States are talking about secessionism. (Interruptions)

SHRI RAM NAIK: You know how Russia has been broken into pieces.

SHRI INDRAJIT GUPTA: That is your last argument. But do not raise that argument because you are not living in Russia and the like. We are living in India, the Bharat and we have to decide our own future, destiny and role. You do not have to copy and imitate any other country.

SHRI RAM NAIK: It is a good lesson.

SHRI INDRAJIT GUPTA: It is a lesson for you also.

Sir, I only wish to say that the spectacle of divisive forces fighting with each other in this country on the basis of religion, will give

737 Places of Worship (Special Provision) Bill

comfort to nobody except may be to some powers who are out to weaken India. It may help people who are running Pakistan. They will enjoy the spectacle of Hindus and Muslims killing each other in India.

Nobody else will derive comfort from that spectacle.

I would like to mention one point about the Bill. The Bill says: "No person shall convert any place of worship of any religious denomination or any section thereof into a place of worship of a different section of the same religious denomination or of a different religious denomination or any section thereof." What is the concept that is being visualised here? It is conversion of a place of one type of religious worship into a place of another religious worship. But is there any provision to be made for all those places of worship which were converted not into forms of other religions but into somebody's house, somebody's cow shed and somebody's cattle shed? There are so many examples. The post-partition Punjab is full of such examples. The post-partition Punjab is full of such examples. They were not converted necessarily into Gurudwaras.

Many of the mosques have been converted into places where some people have taken them over and started living there. Some of the places have been converted into cow sheds and some into cattle sheds. Now, you cannot expect that in the situation and atmosphere which prevailed at that time, those people who had some claim to those property, would have the courage to voice their claims or to go to court or do anything. Some may have gone to court. I do not know. If so, their cases may be still pending, though so many year have passed. But in the other cases, if there are disputes with some adequate evidence of proof and can be brought to light even now, then is the Government prepared to take any remedial action in such cases? They were not converted from one place of religion to another place of religion but into something all together which have nothing to do with

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religion. Should that be permitted? That was a terrible state of affairs prevailing at that time.

The same thing might have happened across the border or on the other side of the border. We do not know and that is not our country.

That became a different country altogether. So, I would request the Home Minister to give some thought to this particular problem and to consider whether there is any way by which people who were dispossessed in a manner which have nothing to do with religion and have got some evidence of proof can still put forward their claims or not. Would that be considered or is it ruled out completely from the scope and content of the Bill? I would like to know about this point from the Home Minister. Subject to that, of course, we support the Bill whole heartedly.

[Translation]

SHRI BH. VIJAYAKUMAR RAJU (Narasapur): Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, at the outset I express my gratitude to you for giving me this opportunity to participate in the discussion on the places of worship (Special provision) Bill. I welcome the introduction of this Bill. In fact, this Bill should have been introduced long ago. My party whole heartedly extends support to this Bill.

Sir, the Babri Masjid Ramjanma Bhumi controversy should be settled through negotiations. If it is not possible to hammer out a solution to this problem through negotiations, the dispute must be settled through a verdict of court. We have to protect the unity and integrity of the nation at any cost.

Religious intolerance is alien to our culture. Disrespect towards other faiths is quite unknown to our religion. Ours;is a land where'all religions co-existed peacefully. By trying to mix religion with politics, perhaps we are trying to forget our own culture. The word Hindu is very much a geographical term. The Persian Kings conquered the areas surrounding the river Sindhu in 518 B.C.

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