The Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute is in its final stages in the Supreme Court but ‘Art of Living’ founder, Sri Sri Ravishankar who is trying to mediate an out of court settlement on the issue believes it has the potential of turning India into a Syria if not resolved amicably.
Ravishankar was speaking exclusively to India Today News Editor Padmaja Joshi, The Art of Living founder explained why he thought a mutual settlement was the only lasting solution to the long-festering issue.
The Hindu leader said that irrespective of who the judgment eventually favours, there would be unrest and a ‘feeling of betrayal’ on the other side. This according to him could push the ‘loser’ towards ‘extremism’ and create a ‘Syria, Middle-East type of situation’ in the country because of the resultant divide between communities.
He said, this conflict will continue to fume in the hearts and minds of people for years.
Ravishankar, who is the principal Ayodhya negotiator, was not impressed with suggestions that in the interest of communal harmony in the country, the disputed site could be used for either construction of a hospital or a school.
“It’s absurd that people are ok with foregoing masjid land for a hospital, but not for the temple. You can’t say from a drawing room that you will build a hospital there. This is a question of faith of crores or people.. you can’t attack it,” he said.
In Ayodhya, both parties to the dispute, the Nirmohi Akhada, the Sunni and Shia Waqf Boards opposed the suggestion that an adverse Court judgment for their side would result in communal disturbances.
The suggestion that India could follow the Middle East unrest seemed to have touched a chord across ideologies. BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, a strong defender of the Hindu temple at Ayodhya, said that the possibility of a civil war after the outcome of the Supreme Court judgment was unconvincing and only Sri Sri’s personal opinion.