Ayodhya Declaration

{Despite the prohibitory orders imposed by Mayawati government on holding the Shaheed Mela on 10 May and Ayodhya-Faizabad convention on 11 May 2002, the Shaheed Mela Organising Committee went ahead with its programme. Thousands of activists of AISA, RYA, AIPWA and JSM, and several artists and intellectuals who had reached Ayodhya from all over the country, started the proposed peace march from Faizabad railway station on 10 May 2002. They were arrested by police immediately and sent to Faizabad, Mau and Sultanpur jails for a 14-day remand period. The next day, defying all the autocratic repressive measures adopted by Faizabad administration, the Ayodhya-Faizabad convention started at the Press Club, Faizabad. The police encircled the Press Club and conducted lathicharge on people assembled outside, in which several persons including Dr. Shubhendu Ghosh of Delhi University sustained injuries. Along with him, the police arrested five persons including Dr Inteshar Ahmed of JNU, UP State Secretary of AIPWA Ajanta Lohit and Radhika Menon of JSM. Despite all this, the convention was successfully conducted by a presidium comprising veteran freedom fighter RN Upadhyay, civil liberty activist Krishnawatar Pandey and Dr.Sandip, NAPM. The convention adopted an “Ayodhya Declaration”, of which the text is being reproduced below.]

1. This convention strongly condemns the prohibition imposed by the Faizabad administration on the Shaheed Mela, succumbing to the pressure of Sangh Parivar and its henchmen of Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad and under the instructions from Mayawati government of UP. The Shaheed Mela was to be held on 10 May in the memory of the First War of Independence, 1857. Peasants of Awadh and democratic and justice-loving people of the country would like to ask the administration: what danger did the Shaheed Mela pose with its tableau depicting the freedom struggle and its martyrs, in which people of Faizabad had aspired to participate in order to revisit their glorious past? The convention holds that prohibiting such a peaceful and democratic programme constitutes an attack on the minimum democratic rights of the people, and such an act is worthy of strong condemnation.

2. This convention demands Sangh Parivar and the mahants in its service to explain what role did the Sangh play in the struggle waged for the liberation of our motherland from 1857 to 1947.

3. This convention calls upon the common citizens to rise against the Sangh Parivar’s campaign of mixing politics with religion. The convention holds that only a conscious and enlightened popular opinion can guarantee that the resolution of Mandir-Masjid controversy, be it through a court verdict or out-of-court settlement, would be in accordance with the principles of democracy, secularism and India’s composite culture. The convention alerts the people of the country against dangers of the politics practiced by BJP on the basis of religion. This convention holds that the resolution of Mandir-Masjid controversy should be the subject matter of a panel of citizens who abide by the principle of complete separation of politics from religion, a panel comprising religious leaders, historians, personages of culture, literature and art, human rights activists, and people excelling in other disciplines. This convention demands of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and others associated with Sangh Parivar to withdraw from this issue. It expressed full faith that our civil society, based on the rich legacy of composite culture will resolve these issues through mutual understanding and harmony.

4. This convention summarily rejects the Sangh Parivar’s campaign to build a Mandir at the controversial site in the name of nationalism, because no temple, mosque, church or any other religious place can be a symbol of nationalism. For a modern, democratic and secular India, only a national monument in memory of the martyrdom of lakhs of peasants and common people who laid down their lives during the First War of Independence in 1857 can be a symbol of nationalism on the soil of Awadh.

5. This convention demands from Mayawati’s state government that instead of treading the repressive path of the Sangh Parivar and following BJP’s fascist agenda, it should reissue the notification promulgated by the UP government in 1993 on the basis of which a case was instituted against Advani, Joshi, Uma Bharati and other Sangh leaders involved in destruction of Babri Masjid. It is to be noted that the Lucknow Bench of the High Court has rejected the earlier notification on technical grounds in its order issued on February 12, 2001. The case pending against the persons accused for destroying Babri Masjid can be reopened only after the government issues a new notification. The convention also demands that the cases pending against all the 47 accused persons chargesheeted by the CBI for the destruction of Babri Masjid be reopened in a special court of justice.

6. This convention demands that the genocide of minorities conducted by the Narendra Modi government of Gujarat must be stopped immediately, and Modi be sacked, Modi and all the culprit officials of Gujarat administration be tried in an open people’s court and they be awarded the most severe punishment. This convention calls for launching a movement to unseat the Vajpayee government, which has encouraged communal fascist misdeeds. The convention resolves to participate in the Rashtriya Ekta Abhiyan (national unity campaign) launched by left-democratic forces on these demands, and urges upon other democratic, justice-loving citizens to join this campaign.

7. This convention appeals to all the citizens to come forward for the struggle to repeal infamous black laws like POTA and for safeguarding democracy.

8. This convention calls upon the people to get united and resist all shades of fascist frenzy, war-mongering and Vajpayee government’s ignominious surrender before imperialists. The convention demands a ban on communal fascist programmes like Trishul Diksha Ssmsroh conducted by the Sangh Parivar throughout the country.


Dipankar Bhattacharya, General Secretary, CPI(ML), Akhilendra Pratap Singh, Secretary, UP State Committee, CPI(ML), Prof. MK Sherwani, Secretary, All India Muslim Forum, Dr. Krishnawatar Pandey, Ex-Director of Education, UP, and GS, PUHR, UP., Chittaranjan Singh, Vice President, PUCL, UP, Ajay Singh, GS, JSM, Sandeep, Convener, NAPM, Balram Yadav, Convener, Progressive Lawyers’ Association, Uday Yadav, Senior Dramatist and Convener, Kala Kammune, Varanasi, Arvind Kumar Singh, Vice President, AISA, UP, Pranay Krishna, PUHR, UP, Onkar Nath Patel, Senior Journalist, Faizabad, Md. Salim Khan Pirzada, Convener, Indian Muslim Political Conference, Shubhra Nagalia, AIPWA, UP, Ravi Kiran Jain, President PUCL UP, Ranjana Kakkar, Reader Medieval History, Allahabad University, Professor Lal Bahadur Varma, historian and several others.