At its dharm sabha in Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan on 9 December, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh displayed a troubling pattern of attacking the Supreme Court for its October 29 ruling that adjourned hearings on the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title dispute until the first week of January.
“There is a limit to waiting for the court’s decision,” Suresh “Bhaiyyaji” Joshi, the sarkaryavah—general secretary—of the RSS, said at the rally. “Bringing in a law is the only option for the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya.”
Anyone who heard or saw his speech must have recognised how cleverly he asked the government to sidestep the Supreme Court. “Those who are in power today had promised to construct the Ram temple. They should listen to the people and fulfil the demand of a temple in Ayodhya. They are aware of the sentiments,” he said. “We are not begging for it. Passing a law is the only option for building a Ram temple,” Joshi added.
Joshi’s attack gains significance coming merely weeks after the Bharatiya Janata Party president, Amit Shah, hit out at the apex court on 27 October for its verdict allowing entry into the Sabarimala temple for women of all ages. Shah had said that courts should not pass verdicts that cannot be implemented. Joshi’s belligerence implies that the BJP is considering the demonisation of the Supreme Court as a means to mobilise Hindus for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Sunday’s rally was attended by thousands of people bussed in from different parts of Delhi and the NCR. This was the Sangh Parivar’s second such dharma sabha, following the one organised in Ayodhya on 25 November. In fact, the Ayodhya rally, which was marked by an unprecedented boycott by most local sadhus, also witnessed a veiled attack on the Supreme Court. Most of the speakers, including the RSS’s joint general secretary Krishna Gopal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Champat Rai, appeared angry with the court for not speeding up the Ayodhya case and demanded that the government must bring in a law to facilitate the construction of the Ram temple.