Deendayalji statue replaced; BJP'sstatewide protest
Azam Khan'soutrage in Rampur
From Sunita Govind in Rampur
Rampur, the Uttar Pradesh Lok Sabha constituency with a sizeable Muslim population, has become the rallying point for nationalist forces across the state with a blatantly anti-Hindu minister in the Mulayam Singh Yadav government ordering the destruction and removal of the statue of Jan Sangh ideologue, profound thinker and scholar Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya surreptitiously in the midnight between June 12 and 13.
Even as activists of the BJP and other nationalist organisations were gearing up to fight the shameful, undemocratic and dictatorial act, a defiant Mohammad Azam Khan, a former convener of the Babri Masjid Action Committee, ordered the demolition of the Deendayal Chowk in the town on the night intervening June 14 and 15 as if he was throwing a challenge before the followers of the great leader. The excuse given on both occasions was the widening of highway into four lanes and its beautification.
But Khan perhaps did not anticipate what was in store for him and the Samajwadi Party government in the state. Lakhs of people who drew their ideological inspiration from Deen-dayalji picked up the gauntlet. Led by BJP'snational vice-president and former Lok Sabha member from the seat, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi took to the streets spontaneously to register their protest and express their anger against the sacrilegious acts of the minister and his lumpen supporters.
All roads lead to Rampur, as nationalists protest destruction of Pt. Deendayalji'sstatue.
Khan's?civic concerns? had no buyers. People recalled how he had opposed the installation of the statue saying Panditji was the icon of Hindutva and he would not allow any ?idol worship? in Rampur.
His lie was also nailed before the people and the media when they saw that neither the statue nor the square he got demolished were located on the highway. Instead, the Chowk named after Deendayalji served as a safe segregator of traffic for entry into the city.
The demolition was also a blatant violation of the stay granted by the District Court on removing the statue from its location.
Naqvi told Organiser, ?The conspirators fled, throwing the statue in a corner of the highway. When people'sresentment grew against the high-handedness of the administration, they placed the statue on a brick platform built in a hurry and now the minister is claiming that the statue has been shifted to a far more beautiful and suitable place.?
News of damage to the statue spread like wildfire in Uttar Pradesh and thousands of party activists, MLAs and MPs made a beeline to Rampur.
Naqvi and former state unit president Vinay Katiyar were among those arrested by the police as they tried to prevent the demolition of the Chowk.
Khan's?civic concerns? had no buyers. People recalled how he had opposed the installation of the statue in the first place saying Panditji was the icon of Hindutva and he would not allow any ?idol worship? in Rampur.
Unnerved by the protests, a panicky administration initially blamed certain contractors responsible for the action and even ordered a magisterial inquiry into it.
But when the Mulayam Singh Yadav government realised the potential of the movement to rejuvenate and revitalise the Pradesh BJP, which once held sway across the state, it banned a scheduled rally on June 15 even as people had started flooding the venue.
Over 50,000 activists including party MPs, MLAs, senior party leaders and former ministers were arrested in Rampur and other parts of the state.
However, true to its dubious character, the state government, while imposing Section 144 to ban the BJP rally, allowed Khan'ssupporters to stage a sit-in barely 200 yards away from the venue.
Naqvi announced a week-long dharma yudha against the ?anti-national and Taliban forces? in the state from June 21. Thousands of party workers were arrested across western Uttar Pradesh including Bareilly, Moradabad, Shahjahanpur and Amroha. Naqvi himself was taken into preventive custody in Rampur while Lalji Tandon was arrested near Bareilly.
Undeterred by the state government'snefarious designs and provocative acts, Naqvi met President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on June 17 and submitted a memorandum detailing the sequence of events and urging him to interfere in the matter. He also urged President Kalam to ensure that Pandit Deendayalji'sstatue is re-installed at its original place.
Continuing with the party'sprotest, Naqvi announced a week-long dharma yudha against the ?anti-national and Taliban forces? in the state from June 21. Thousands of party workers were arrested across western Uttar Pradesh including Bareilly, Moradabad, Shahjahanpur and Amroha. Naqvi himself was taken into preventive custody in Rampur while Lalji Tandon was arrested near Bareilly.
The party plans to hold a public meeting in Lucknow on June 23 to be followed by a massive rally in Rampur on June 27 in which senior Central and state leaders along with thousands of party workers are expected to take part along with MPs from the state, MLAs and former Union Ministers.
Written off by sceptics as a spent force, the state BJP is all set to rise Pheonix-like in the coming days. If the response to the events in Rampur is any indication, then the day is not far when saffron will fly high in Lucknow again. But it will not be a cakewalk. The likes of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Azam Khan would try their level best to halt the march of the nationalist forces. But when Pandit Deendayalji himself is the inspiration and his statue is the motivation, there is no stopping the Karyakarta.