SHRI MANOHAR GAJANAN JOSHI (CONTD.): Sir, in our country the things do not go smooth. Whenever we want to do certain things strictly, there are people to oppose them; there are people to stop them. In the case of Gujarat, particularly in the case of Vadodara, the same thing had happened. An attempt was made by the Chief Minister of Gujarat to have the entire year 2006 as Urban Development Year. The urban problems are growing in the country. The Gujarat Chief Minister thought that this was the right time to go ahead with the Urban Development Year and remove the unauthorised constructions, and, therefore, he took up a programme of construction of a road. What was wrong in it? I personally feel that construction of roads, construction of highways and construction of dams are the most important activities from the point of view of urban areas. When you start such activities, there are people who would like to obstruct it; sometimes, in the name of poverty and, sometimes, in the name of religion. When I go abroad, I find the other countries are developing. Even those countries which became independent after we became independent have progressed three or four times more than that of our country. The only reason is that there are certain people, a certain section of the people, who do not want development to take place. If the Chief Minister of Gujarat has done something, it is only to develop Gujarat at any cost and in the face of criticism. I think, the entire country can develop only if we are firm. Unfortunately, that does not happen.

I have a Press statement made by Shri Shriprakash Jaiswal, the hon. Minister of State for Home Affairs, where he says, "The clash was not of communal nature, but between the district administration and members of a particular community". It shows that the hon. Minister of State for Home Affairs agrees that this was not a clash between the two communities. This was not at all a clash between Hindus and Muslims. This was a clash between the administration, on the one side, and those who wanted to stop the development, on the other.

Sir, I have been listening to the debate in the House and the question before us is whether one should go ahead with the development of a particular place, or, one should go ahead with a little interest of catching maximum votes. If we are honest enough, I am sure, everybody will agree that peace is more important than the politics that we wish to preach. If this is accepted and, from this point of view, if one goes to the details as to what happened in Gujarat, he will find that all proper steps were taken and every due care was taken by the administration before starting the construction of a road. The first and foremost thing required is to give notice. I am speaking from the records which are available to me. Proper notices were served on on the Dargah on Mandvi-Champaner Gate Road where the demolition was to take place. (Contd. by 4O/VK)


SHRI MANOHAR GAJANAN JOSHI (CONTD): After the notice, a meeting was also called. In the meeting, a decision was to be taken whether the kabar was located within the road line as per the records of the City Survey superintendent dating 1905-1912, of which there was no property card. This particular dargah or Kabar, whatever we may call, was in the way of construction. The question before the authorities was to find out whether it was as old as some Members have said. Therefore, the representatives who had come on behalf of the dargah were asked to produce the documents -- not once -- firstly by giving a notice and secondly by convening a meeting. In this regard, it was found that although a request was made, no substantial proof was produced. In the meeting, not only the Municipal authorities, the Mayor of the City, other representatives of people were present, the Police Commissioner, the Deputy Police Commissioner were also present. It means that it is known to everybody. If somebody says that I am at this place for more than 100 years, but there is no proof, what can the authorities do except demolishing it? Therefore, the demolition of the structure was absolutely right. (Interruptions).

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SHRI MANOHAR GAJANAN JOSHI: Sir, I am referring to the records. (Interruptions). There was no property card. (Interruptions). I am saying it from the record. (Interruptions). Presuming that there was a property card. Firstly, the record does not say that they produced a property card. Secondly, if there was a property card, another thing was suggested by those people that keep half of the kabar here and half of the kabar be shifted. The Municipal Commissioner requested that it was not possible; we may be able to shift you from this place to another, which was also rejected. Sir, in these circumstances, somebody goes into the shoes of the Municipal authorities. Can he tell me what is the other way except removing the structure? The Municipal authorities, the Collector of the District and the Municipal Commissioner along with the Mayor and the representatives of the people, decided to demolish it. A compromise formula suggesting partial removal was also put forth, which was acknowledged by the VMC, Vadodara Municipal Corporation but no final decision was taken as the same could be taken after examining the issue from a legal angle. A letter received by fax on 30th April from local residents was also taken into consideration. There was another side also. There were other people also who were insisting that when you construct a road and if there also a religious place comes in-between, action will have to be taken. Therefore, this matter has to be examined from the administrative point of view. I agree with the hon. Minister of State when he said that this was not a question between two religions. This was a question between the Administration and the people of certain place. Now those people did not agree to raze it. The demolition started on 1st May, 2006 when all the authorities were present on the spot. A strong crowd tried to obstruct the team of the Vadodra Municipal Corporation. Unfortunately, firing was done. It is not that the firing was done immediately. All other measures were also tried. When they did not succeed, the firing was done. Two persons died and 25 others got injured. (Contd. by 4P)


SHRI MANOHAR JOSHI (contd.): Thereafter, in the city itself, four people died, and six police station areas out of 13 were affected. So, these are the details. It is a very simple matter, and in this simple matter, we have to decide whether we want peace in the country or we want politics to prevail. If we sincerely desire it, I do not want any Member of this august House to try and play politics, and thus disturb peace not only in Gujarat but also in the entire country. I must say, after my experience of four years as Chief Minister, these issues are flaring up only because of appeasement of a particular community. I am extremely sorry to say this. But I say this with great regret that communal feelings of a particular group get flared up because we try to appease some groups, and that is not good for us. I remember, during my tenure, a lot of people approached me with a lot of requests. But I never looked at them from communal point of view. I remember; at that time, in a particular place, people were sitting on the footpath and offering Namaz. People came to me and said, "Since there is no place in the Masjid, we have to sit on the roadside and pray." I told them, "If I give you additional FSI, you can construct more parts in the Masjid and, definitely, your problem can be resolved." Those people agreed. So, additional FSI was given, and the problem was solved. In this particular case also, every attempt was made. I know the hon. Home Minister has a great responsibility in replying to those questions. This, I told the Urban Development Minister yesterday also, that unless and until he brings the rule of law, the country would not progress. Without taking a decision about slum dwellers, he has just given them one-year period. I am sure even after this one-year period, he will come back to the House. I must tell the hon. Home Minister that he must take a decision that in the matter of development, irrespective of whether a person belongs to a particular community or a particular religion or a particular caste, the law must prevail and justice should be done in the same way. If that is not done, how do we expect development to take place? In the name of religion, if somebody constructs certain unauthorised structures and do not co-operate with the administration, what can the administration do? We, ultimately, try to blame the bureaucrats. But the bureaucrats behave as per the decisions of Parliament. Let me tell you; if they look at the way in which we are shouting against each other, the way in which we are behaving in the House, -- this is all being watched by the people of the country -- they will feel that this highest democratic temple is also not taking decisions peacefully and calmly. Therefore, on this issue, I am of the firm opinion that in the matter of unauthorised construction, whether it is a temple or a house or a commercial area, if somebody is coming in the way, then, the progress of our country will come to a halt. No politics should be brought into this. I am also confident that the day will come when we have to follow all these and go ahead with the development. I am indeed happy that the Chief Minister of Gujarat has decided that he would go ahead with development in spite of hindrances that come in the way. Indeed, I wish to congratulate him for the kind of development that has taken place. I would also like to say that if we want progress of the country, let us not talk of religion. This must be seen in the larger interest of the nation, and petty politics should not be brought into this. Thank you, Sir. (Ends) (Followed by 4Q)


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SHRI PRAVEEN RASHTRAPAL (GUJARAT): Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, let me inform you that I am a very junior Member of this House.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: You are a former Member of the Lok Sabha. Why do you say that? ...(Interruptions)...

SHRI PRAVEEN RASHTRAPAL: This is my maiden speech, and I request my colleagues on that side, particularly the Members of Rajya Sabha from Gujarat not to interrupt me. I also request my senior colleague, Shri Vinay Katiyar, -- I sympathise with him for his loss in the election -- not to interrupt me; ...(Interruptions)... I also request my senior colleague, Shri Arun Jaitley not to interrupt because they are going to speak after me.

Sir, the subject today is communal violence, and not property card and hundred-year proof. Some people don't know the difference between a kabr and a dargah also. A kabr is for an ordinary human being and a dargah is for a saint. Let us not give incorrect name to the very pious places, whether they belong to this community or that community. If you don't know the meaning of the word, you should not utter it. I may refer to other places; we are not talking only of Vadodara. Sir, in the recent past, we had communal riots in Aligarh; we had communal riots in Lucknow, and, then, the last riots took place on 1st of April or surrounding that date in Vadodara. The dispute is not about development and non-development. Nobody here is against development. Nobody here is against development. I expect that no Member of Rajya Sabha is against development. Are you against development?


SHRI PRAVEEN RASHTRAPAL: We cannot. I don't know why they are misinforming and misdirecting the very purpose of the decision. I am against violence. This Parliament in this country has celebrated Baishakhi Poornima only a few days ago. The greatest man of the world, Lord Buddha; the country is celebrating the 2550th anniversary of Lord Buddha's Mahaparinirvan. The State of Gujarat is celebrating the year 2006 as a Tourism Year. May I know from the Members of Rajya Sabha of Gujarat when violence takes place in Vadodara, whether tourism will increase or tourism will go to Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh? I am worried about that, because this House is known as the Council of States. We are here not to talk about any individual; we are here to talk about the issues of the States. And, I am sure, all Members of Rajya Sabha from a particular State should talk in favour of that State. I don't know why there should be contradiction. I remind my friend, Shri Jayantilal Barot and my sister, Alka and many other Members of Rajya Sabha from Gujarat that when the Securities Scam took place, we were all worried about the small depositors. It was a Rs.1200 crore scam. I am very sorry to refer to the scam in Madepura Cooperative Bank. It was a hundreds of crores of rupees scam, and, that too, of small depositors. As a Member of Rajya Sabha, I am supposed to support the case of small depositors, and not of Ketan Parikh. Let me make a statement that on the one side, we talk of democracy, we talk of clarity and we talk of character; and in Rajya Sabha, we criticise this party and that party, and, as a lawyer, I go and defend Ketan Parikh! Who is right; one who is defending the small depositors, or, one who is defending Ketan Parikh? (Contd. by 4r)


SHRI PRAVEEN RASHTRAPAL (contd.): I make a statement: There is a crisis of character in this country. There is a crisis of character among the leaders of this country, of a particular party, of a communal force, of a fascist party, and we are against that. We are not against the BJP as a political party. We will not talk of any political party here. We do not approve communal violence, whether it is communal violence between Dalits and other Hindus, whether it is communal violence between Shias and Sunnis, whether it is communal violence between Hindus and Muslims. We are against all types of violence. We cannot approve of violence. We cannot. We belong to the country of Lord Buddha. We belong to the country of Lord Mahaveer, we belong to the country of Mahatma Gandhi. Many saints too. One of them was Khwaza Moiduddin Chusti. He needs no introduction in this country. Gareeb Nawaz Khwaza Moiduddin Chusti came to this country from Samartan Bukhara before 700 years and he came to Delhi and then he went to Ajmer. He died there. The world famous Dargah of Khwaja Moiduddin Chusti is there in Ajmer and I am sure, everyone sitting here must have visited that Dargah. It is not a Dargah of Muslims. Ajmer is visited and prayed by Hindus and Muslims both. Some of the disciples of Khwaza Moiduddin Chusti went to other parts of the country and one of them came to Ahmedabad and we have got a Chusti Dargah in Shahibagh area, just next to Raj Bhavan which was built by Shah Jahan himself. And, right now, the monument of Sardar Patel is housed there.

My very senior colleague and previous Chief Minister of Maharashtra was talking about the property record. Will you please give me the property record of the Raj Bhavan of Ahmedabad, which was built by Shah Jahan? Because there is no property record, can we demolish that? Can you produce the certificate of my grand father when there was no system of birth certificates? He is very much alive and he is more than a hundred years. Suppose I do not produce his certificate, should he be removed from my house? What is this? What are these arguments? Let us not talk of these.

One of his disciples went to Ahmedabad and another went to Baroda. His name was Rasiduddin Chusti. He went to Baroda before 380 years and this Dargah is of Rasiduddin Chusti and it was in existence during the regime of Maharaj Gayakwad. It is there. All historical stories are there. I have got all news cuttings and let me tell you, my dear friend, I am prepared if you appoint a Committee of this House. Let them go to Baroda and find out whether even after the demolition of the Dargah the road is widened or not. I am told by a citizen of Baroda that the road cannot be widened because there is Chahataner Gate in between the road. You have demolished the Dargah, next to the Gate. But the historical Gate of Chahataner cannot be demolished by the Baroda Municipal Corporation. It is not demolished and it will not be demolished. Then, what is the use of that demolition? Are you experts in demolition? Yes, some of you are experts in demolition. The Babri Masjid was demolished on 6th December, 1992 and the *


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* Not recorded

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(4S KLS/MCM ָ )


SHRI PRAVEEN RASHTRAPAL: Sir, very correctly,...((Interruptions)... I will again go back to Baroda. So, a decision was taken, the people had discussion, very senior people, in-charge of dargah went to the Baroda Municipal Corporation. The whole story is they were given an assurance and they had offered that the superstructure may be removed. You know the dargah will be hardly five feet or six feet in length and two or three feet in width. So, that is the main part of the darghah as in a temple we say the sanctum sanctorum ֳԫָ ו ֟ ,

For demolition of the superstructure, the community was prepared. And she has rightly referred to the map of 1912 and 1945. I have got English translation of the statement made by the Mayor of Baroda, "Why do you talk of 1912 map? I will show a map of 1945 of India where Pakistan is very much within India during 1945. Can we make claim for Pakistan on the basis of 1945 map?" That was the statement made by the Mayor of Baroda before the Muslim leaders when they went along with 1912 map. Now that 1912 map is very much there and there is proof that the Gaekwad himself had replaced the dargah during his regime, the Maharaja of Gaekwad had replaced this darghah once. This is the second time. It is not a replacement; replacement is permissible by performing certain puja. What is now going on in Narmada Project? The entire towns and villages are submerged. Do you know that? In Madhya Pradesh and in Gujarat when you construct dams, thousands of acres of land will submerge. There will be a number of dargahs, there will be a number of kabars and there will be a number of temples which will all be allowed to submerge. Nobody will take objection to that because it is for development. We are not against development. But systematically a statue of any lord or any god, which is there in a temple, will be taken out. If there is a very sufi saint darghah, that miti will be removed and taken to another place. These are the methods, which should be known to those who are ruling in a particular district, those who are ruling in a particular State. So, this was the objection. There is another very serious statement made by a police officer, and one of my senior colleagues referred to a man who was burnt along with a vehicle. Somebody telephoned the police station, "If you come here with a fire brigade, we can save the man because he is inside and the car is burning." The reply of the PSI was

߱ ß֮ ...((Interruptions)... That is the attitude. ...((Interruptions)... I can give the name of that man who telephoned. I can give you the name of the PSI and if you want you can collect the proof from the company of the mobile phone also. All these things are there. ׸և פօ.......(־֮֬)

This newspaper is published by a BJP man. ....((Interruptions)...

ֳ֯ן : ָ ֟ פև, ֲָ פ֮

SHRI RAVI SHANKAR PRASAD: He is showing a newspaper. ...((Interruptions)...

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: You have seen that I have stopped him. ...((Interruptions)...

SHRI RAVI SHANKAR PRASAD: He is a new Member. He must know the rules. Please tell him. ...((Interruptions)...

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: I have reminded him about the rules. ...((Interruptions)...

SHRI PRAVEEN RASHTRAPAL: This action of the official was supported by the local political leadership. That is the problem. In fact, the same thing happened during the worst communal riots a few years before, that is, in 2002. If at that time it was the head of the State who was involved in the ethnic cleansing in Gujarat, It was State sponsored terrorism in Gujarat, now this time it is the failure of the local administration and not, definitely not, of Gandhinagar. I will say Gandhinagar is not responsible for what happened in Baroda. (Contd 4T)


SHRI PRAVEEN RASHTRAPAL (CONTD.): But, it was the failure of the local police and local Municipal Corporation of Vadodara. You will have to admit that because they have miserably failed. It was very easy. I agree. Many Hindu temples were removed voluntarily by the Hindus. I agree. One thing, again, there were no communal riots between Hindus and Muslims in Vadodara. One thing is also correct that it was an aggression by Police on the Muslims but the Police were supported by non-Muslims. That happened against me when anti-reservation riots occurred in Ahmedabad. My basti was attacked by those who were against reservation. What is going on right now? What is going on in this country right now? They oppose reservation. Has this Parliament not passed legislation under article 15?

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: No, then you are going on a different subject. When we take up reservation...

SHRI PRAVEEN RASHTRAPAL: No, Sir, when Dalits are attacked, Police and non-Dalits will be together. Nobody has sympathy for poor people. Nobody has sympathy for minorities when aggression takes place. That was the problem. I again say that it was not violence between two communities but excessive violence, excessive use of force, of lathi-charge and tear gas. My colleague had actually visited. I could not go there because I was in the hospital. In fact, my party selected me and said that Shri Praveen Rashtrapal should be sent. Even now I am prepared. Sir, you appoint, not from Congress or from BJP. Let us send people from any other political party. Let them go to Vadodara and verify. Believe their reports. Don't believe me. Don't believe my friend, Maniyar because we belong to that State. We are prepared. We want peace. We want development in Gujarat. We do not want development like this because they are talking too much of development. I will tell you what development is going on in Gujarat. Check dams, I request you to go through E-TV programmes where it is proved that 700 check dams were built and washed away in one rainy season. "Sujalam Suphalam", a Committee of Members of Gujarat State Assembly from all parties was constituted and headed by one lady MLA, Dr...(Interruptions)...

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Don't use the names who cannot defend. Say an MLA.

SHRI PRAVEEN RASHTRAPAL: No, Sir, there is no development in Gujarat. Yes, I will not give names. The Chief Minister of Gujarat wrote a letter to the Water Resources Minister requesting him to call a review committee meeting.

SHRI RAVI SHANKAR PRASAD: Gujarat Development issue...

SHRI PRAVEEN RASHTRAPAL: No, I am not yielding. I am not yielding.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Everybody has talked about development. If you say development...

SHRI PRAVEEN RASHTRAPAL: If you talk of development, let me tell you the truth. The Chief Minister of Gujarat has written a letter to the Central Minister of Water Resources to call a Review Committee Meeting and accordingly a review committee was called and when he came down to Gujarat he said...

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ֳ֯ן : ָ , ֟ ? ..(־֮֬)..This is too much. (Interruptions) Please sit down.

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SHRI PRAVEEN RASHTRAPAL: My main objection is, illegal construction can be demolished not any construction. Encroachment is illegal. If it is encroachment on a private property it has to be demolished. That is the Supreme Court order. I know why they are doing it. Somewhere we are ruling the Corporation and somewhere they are ruling. The Supreme Court has ordered that there should not be construction at a certain feet on the Highways. There should not be construction on the roads. (CONTD. BY NBR/4U)


SHRI PRAVEEN RASHTRAPAL (CONTD.): In Delhi also it happened. Why all we have become a part of the Bill which imposed moratorium for one year? Why have we not opposed that? We have passed Delhi Laws Bill. There, illegal structure can remain for one year and illegal structures in Vadodara should not remain for three minutes! Vadodara structures should be removed immediately, whereas for illegal structures in Delhi we want an exemption for one year! Everybody voted in favour of that Bill. And, Mr. Khurana, was the main man who wanted that Bill and he belongs to the party which is shouting. So, let us not be political. և, օ ֟ , , ִֻ--֤ ֟ ׸ ֿ׸ , , ִֻ--֤ ָ ײֻ֟ ֯ ָ ו פ ֻ ֵ֙ ֮ ָ ֋, ֲ ֯ ֟ ֻ ֵ֙ ߕ þֵ ֟ߕ ׯ֔ ֻ ֵ֙ ָ ֵ ׻֋ ֟ ֻ ֵ֙ ָ ײֻ֟ , ָ ߾ ײֻ֟ ֯ ָ ֓ ֣ ֟ ֟ , ֟ ֮ ֟ ִ֯ This is the House of elders. This is the Council of States. Let us behave as senior citizens. Let us behave as the Council of States. Let us, today, decide that from now onwards there will not be communal riots in Gujarat. Why there are no communal riots in West Bengal? Why there are no communal riots in Kerala?...(Interruptions)...There are many such States. I congratulate them.

SHRI RAVISHANKAR PRASAD: Who said that?...(Interruptions)...

SHRI PRAVEEN RASHTRAPAL: Sometimes there are...(Interruptions)... Rarely they take place...(Interruptions)...There are States where the communal riots never take place. There are States where communal riots take place regularly. For example, Ahmedabad, Godhra, Surat, Vadodara. ֮։ ָ-ָ , ֜ I am appreciating those States where there are no communal riots. But, I want Gujarat should be number one in peace.

AN HON. MEMBER: What about development?

SHRI PRAVEEN RASHTRAPAL: First we should have peace. What are you talking of development? What is the use of development when there is no peace? Social fabric of the society has to be maintained. You know what is the social fabric? We talk very good over here. I know what is the situation in Gujarat. I know what is the situation of a dalit in a UP village. I know what is the situation of a dalit in a Gujarat village. We know it. So, let us not discuss all these things. Let us, at least, decide one thing that in future there will not be communal violence in the name of community.

With these few words, I conclude my speech. Thank you everybody. (Ends)

SHRI ARUN JAITLEY (GUJARAT): Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, what should, as my friend, Mr. Yechury, mentioned in his opening comment have been otherwise a non-partisan approach to a political or a social situation has become, obviously, a very partisan debate. I don't think there are any two views about the fact that whether it is the killings in Doda or whether it is a communal disturbance in Gujarat or a social caste disturbance in some other part of the country, the normal approach of the civilized society should be uniform. And, therefore, we should be really, as the House of elders as Mr. Rashtrapal has just mentioned, concerned about how to deal with that situation and how to make sure that such incidents, be it of caste, be it of religious tensions, be it of terrorism, do not occur. But the difficulty arises when we decide that these incidents are to be used not to learn a lesson for the present and find a solution for the future, but, these incidents are really to be used with the object of targeting each other and then some of these incidents we realise and fall into a temptation, can also have implications on electoral politics. (CONTD. BY USY "4W")


SHRI ARUN JAITLEY (CONTD.): Before I come to the incident that has taken place in Vadodra, what it is that we really are discussing, what the core of the debate is. The core of this debate was merely because a dargah or a kabar had to be shifted or removed, it was, probably, easier to come to a solution. But the core issue is on that incident an upheaval is to be created in the city and, then, in the whole country, and, then, polarisations are to be made, the solution becomes all the more difficult. When some of us decide to use an uneven hand in dealing with these situations the problem worsens. Before I deal with the Vadodra situation, let me just mention -- I am not referring to the gruesome incidents of Doda -- how incidents and events take place, and what is really the true meaning and content of secularism in India. A Minister in a State Government had the audacity to say, "I will give fifty crores to somebody who brings me the head of so and so". Now, any civilized or secular society would have demanded that he should immediately be sacked, he should be prosecuted. But, then, by doing so, he had sent a large message to a constituency which was going to support him. The party, to which he belonged, found itself unable to react. I saw an unfortunate incident the other day, nowhere else in the country, but at the door of the Prime Minister's residence. We have a free Press in India. The Press puts each one of us inconvenient questions. A delegation went to meet the Prime Minister and came out. An inconvenient question was put. The response was that the journalist was bashed up. The journalist offered a protest. The hon. Home Minister went there and said that he would look into the matter and do the needful. But if an FIR had been lodged against him, could it be construed as a non-secular polity? And, therefore, an attack on a journalist before the national television, we were compelled to a situation where the society decided to look the other way. These are some of the incidents. I can count indefinite number of them. Shri Sitaram Yechuri was very vocal when he said, "Why have you used the POTA in the case of Godhra?" And, before I go to the Vadodra situation, I think, the response all that gone on record is required. You had an unfortunate incident. I don't go into the details and prejudge the incident. A train was set on fire. What has been the approach of a large number of people in this country? He was very vocal; and, he said, "Your Government in Gujarat was held to be bias in relation to the post-Godhra incidents". But whether it was Godhra or post-Godhra, they had to be dealt with either by the BJP Government or by the Central Government with the same approach. But what was the attitude? The police investigated the matter. The police filed the charge-sheet. The accused had moved to court. The Session Court rejected the bail, the High Court rejected the bail, the Supreme Court considered the entire evidence and rejected the bail, not once but several times. A Review Committee goes and says, "Why do you make it a case of POTA?" The Gujarat High Court says, "The Review Committee is not binding on the judicial authorities, we will independently apply ourselves". And, now, we have been told that you should be bound by the Review Committee, withdraw the case. Not satisfied by this, a Committee which is to go into -- normally, an Administrative Committee of the Railways is constituted -- the question of railway accidents and other problems that arise with the Railways. A railway accident inquiry is invented, now, for the first time. Somehow a message must be given to those who are accused in the Godhra case, there is somebody concerned about you. Now, I am not for a moment saying that that case should be dealt with on a pedestal different from the post-Godhra riots. But once the machinery of the State and a large political establishment decide that an uneven policy in dealing with Godhra or the post-Godhra, then, a serious question arises what really is the content of secularism in India. (Contd. by 4x -- VP)


SHRI ARUN JAITLEY (CONTD.): Is it only to give a particular kind of a signal that you go into these questions? Let me just remind myself of one of the biggest contemporary debates. We are dealing with the Vadodara situation, which started as town planning and urban renewal exercise. The Ayodhya debate has been pending for years, for decades. Whether the disputed structure is a temple or a mosque, this issue has been pending. My party has no hesitation in saying that we are deeply committed to that particular place and the temple being there at the Ram Janmasthan. What are we told as a point of criticism? Why are you getting into this temple or mosque debate? Suggestions are made by eminent public persons; make a hospital there, make a national memorial there, give up that claim to the site, however, sacred it may be. It may be your Mecca or it may be your Jerusalem, but, please give up your claim and agree to another institution, after all, hospitals are going to help the society more. This is the argument which is told to us in reverse. And, today we are told, forget town planning, if there is something bang in the middle of the road, be it a Temple or a Gurudwara, or a Church or a Durgah, if it comes to a particular place of worship, then, town planning must stop. Therefore, you must think of an alternative methodology.

Let us go into what really has happened as far as the situation in the Vadodara city is concerned. The year 2005-06 is the Urban Development year. That is the State Government's policy; the Executive Policy. Somebody has moved the court and filed a public interest litigation. Courts these days are activist courts, so, the court starts monitoring. One of the directions of the court is that not only in Vadodara, but in almost every town of Gujarat, encroachments on roads must be removed. So, in a bid to remove encroachments, whether it is Ahmedabad, Surat or Rajkot, roads are being widened and whatever comes within the line of the widened road has to be removed. In Vadodara itself, 3,299 structures have been removed to comply with the High Court direction that whatever comes in the way of road widening must be removed. As a part of removing that you had religious structures of all sides. And, Mr. Rashtrapal was absolutely right that when the Tehri Dam is built, the whole townships are submerged and villages are submerged. The Mosques, the Temples, the Gurudwaras, all had to be shifted out. When the Narmada Dam is created, there is submergence and everything has to be shifted out. World over, the most precious of religious structures have been removed and shifted out. As part of this road widening, when 3,299 structures are removed in Vadodara, you have religious structures of all religious denominations which have to be removed. When I said, uneven methodology of dealing with secularism, I will in the same tone as Mr. Yechury said, say for post-Godhra cases, you were biased, and for the pre-Godhra and the Godhra case, why did you use the case of terrorism? The bias was inherent in the tone. I am asking myself a question. What if my party had put up the photograph of somebody, who is involved in some heinous offence, on its election posters? Hell would have been let loose. And, we have the main accused of the Coimbatore blasts being paraded on the posters of a particular political party and, then, very proudly you say, for the first time in the history, we are very progressive, we have defeated the Muslim League. Well, if you have a figure to display who is more fundamentalist than that Muslim League in Kerala, then, you are bound to succeed. Therefore, what happens in Vadodara is, 42 temples or religious structures of a majority community have been removed. Six structures of the minority community have been removed. No noise was created when these 42 plus 6 structures are removed. When it came to this structure in the middle of the road, it is not as though the administration just went away straight and started bulldozing the place. (Contd. by PK/4Y)


SHRI ARUN JAITLEY (CONTD.): There are official, Government records. The whole case was made out that this is shown as kabra in the records of 1905-1912; therefore, if it is a structure which is almost 100 years old, then, please look into the records. You had the record of the City Survey Superintendent. The local municipality called for the record. They didn't find a mention of this. You had the records with the Charity Commissioner's Office. They didn't find a record of this. You had the record of the local municipality; you didn't find a record of this. Therefore, after doing this exercise, on the 27th of April, you issue a notice not only to this one structure but to all structures on this road, that this is the compliance of the High Court order, please remove your structures. If you want to shift, please shift. No shifting is done. On 27th and 28th, this is repeated. On 29th, a meeting is held with the members of the community and they are told if you have something to say on this, please produce all the documents. The Municipal Commissioner holds a meeting. He is a bureaucrat. Not a single document is produced. On 30th, when they meet again, a compromise is worked out and a compromise is suggested, we will stay our hands for some more time; if you want to shift, this wholly or partly, please shift this. Then, again, the hardliners take over and they say, "no shifting, it will remain." Forty two plus six others have been shifted or removed, but when it comes to one structure, they say, "no, it will not be removed." The Municipality, then, on the 1st of May had no option but to comply with the direction of the High Court. And, once, it is done, I am grateful to my friend, Shri Rashtrapal when he said that this was not a communal riot. Members of the community, whether provoked or agitated, get together. Two of them, unfortunately, die in the police action. Thirteen of them are injured. The mob was also violent. Twelve policemen are also injured. Thereafter two members of the majority community are stabbed. They succumb to injuries. It started off as a town clearing exercise. The world over, structures are removed as a part of town clearing. Now, what are we really discussing when I said, what is the real meaning of the word 'secularism'? Is secularism to operate only on double standards? Sir, after this incident when 42 temples had been removed, six other religious structures of the minority community have been removed, and there has been no protest. If somebody says on one structure I will create a protest, I am constrained to ask myself, after 59 years of Independence, we have not been able to enforce what article 44 says, "The State shall endeavour to have a Uniform Civil Code". Today, the entire tenor of this protest is, will India also have now a separate municipal court, depending on religious denominations to which you belong?...(Interruptions).. Once you are going in for a town clearing exercise, whether it is my house or it is a public building, or, it is a park, or it is a school, or, it is a temple or a gurudwara or a mosque, all the religious structures there have to be shifted out. We have to educate all members of various communities, be it minority, be it majority, that world over this has been done, but, if we send a signal that Shri Madani, if you do an act which you did in Coimbatore, our State Assembly will pass a resolution in your favour. If we have resolutions of this kind and photographs and posters during elections and memorandums to the President, if we send a signal that all right you may have been responsible for burning the train alive, but we will take up your cause; if law and order is not with us, if the Supreme Court is not giving you bail, then a railway inquiry will seek to exonerate you and create an atmosphere in your favour; if these kind of signals are sent, then, obviously, some people get emboldened on either community who will say, well, I don't want the structure belonging to my community, it may tomorrow be the majority community if they get the backing of the State, or, it may be the members of the minority community. The moment we link it with the vote bank, the first 42 + 6 structures did not get linked to any vote bank, everybody agreed; it is only this structure; therefore, Sir, when we discuss this whole issue, I think, we will have to keep the fundamental issue in mind. If all of us, the State, the State Governments, the Central Government, we as political parties, have a uniform definition of the word secularism, "that the State shall be impartial in the matter of implementing its policies......

(Contd. by 4Z/PB)


SHRI ARUN JAITLEY (CONTD.): If all of us, the States, the State Governments, the Central Government, and we, as political parties, have a uniform definition of the word 'secularism' that the State shall be impartial in the matter of implementing its policies, we, the political parties, then, are not seen condoning one kind of fundamentalism, because that kind of fundamentalism brings me votes. If we don't follow this kind of a policy, it may be really easier to resolve this problem.

Having said this, Sir, just one last point that I wish to make is that we also need a debate in this House and in the society, particularly, in the media, that in these kinds of social tensions, what the role of the media, particularly, electronic media is going to be. Traditionally, we have a discipline in this country. Whenever a caste violence or a religious violence took place, it was always in print media a case of subdued reporting was there. There was an unwritten code that even names of communities, which clashed, were not mentioned. This, of course, was not a community clash. Now, if we say that the two people who died in mob violence or in that car were members of the minority community, whose names were so and so, or, another one says that the two people who were stabbed to death were members of the majority community, whose names were so and so, let us see that we, today, live in the world of twenty-four hour television and the twenty-four hour television has a capacity to create a kind of a frenzy on some issues of this kind. When blood is shown, bodies are shown, and injustice to community is shown, whether it is in a caste violence or a religious violence, the frenzy really can have its repercussions outside. Fortunately, in this case, all Governments were quick to act and, therefore, after the first day's incident and the unfortunate burning in that car on the second night, otherwise, the incidents were curtailed. The Central Government sent its additional security forces; the State asked for them; the State sent its entire Police force there, and the curfew was relaxed for women and children first and then for the whole community. But if we do not have some kind of a self-restraint and go back to the traditional conservatism in reporting caste and communal violence instances, particularly, taking care that the kind of incidents which display hatred, which show hate speech, which show blood, which show names of communities, names of victims, names of those who attacked, if we don't re-impose that code on ourselves, and it is a voluntary code, probably, in future if such unfortunate situations take place, they can create a situation which would be far worse. Vadodara got controlled in a day or two, but if the frenzy spreads, then it becomes all the more difficult in controlling it and, I am sure, Sir, we are learning from this experience and other past experiences. Earlier, when such troubles took place, we had, traditionally, the more conservative print media. Now, that we live in the age of a twenty-four hour television channels, they will also make sure that while reporting facts, to make sure that the kind of reportage does not create any form of feeling in the society which excites people to further kinds of sensations that provokes them to do acts which they should otherwise not be doing.

In a nutshell, Sir, the incident at Vadodara is a lesson for us, a lesson for all of us because it is not an incident of communal violence, where an incident relating to town-planning, compliance to the Court's order and disagreement by members of one community with regard to a particular structure had led to a flare-up where six people have lost their lives and some people have been injured. But, in future, the conflict resolution on these issues is one area where we still are to progress as a society, and, I am sure, that what Mr. Yechury mentioned in the beginning, but didn't really go ahead with it as he progressed, that on an issue like this if we dealt with a more even hand and had an approach to these issues which was more non-partisan, probably, our moral authority in resolving these issues and these conflict resolutions will be far higher in the society. Thank you, Sir. (Ends)

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Shri Vinay Katiyar. The BJP has taken fifteen minutes more than its allotted time. Please, keep the time.

(Followed by 5A)