'Ayodhya verdict a chance to bring Muslims into mainstream'

"September 24 would be the next turning point in India's history. I hope the judges are aware of it. There should be efforts for reconciliation and the initiative should come from the Hindutva forces. Triumphant attitude on their part would invite trouble," said Dr Christophe Jaffrelot, who teaches South Asian Politics and History at Sciences Po in Paris.

The author said the saffron brigade will have to think twice before relaunching the tirade against Muslims as the middle class has taken a stand against it in 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

For Muslims, he said, an unfavourable judgement would be like a double-edged sword as it could be seen as accepting defeat again and again.

"It's the time to show that Muslims are part of India and change their psyche of fear. Me and my research students surveyed 12 Indian cities and most of Muslims there see demolition of Babri Masjid as a turning point," said Jaffrelot, speaking at the launch of his book, "Religion, Caste and Politics in India".

He said Rajiv Gandhi was indirectly responsible for demolition of Babri Masjid as he tried to play one community against the other.
"From Shah Bano case to opening up of the Masjid on VHP's request to launching his election campaign from Faizabad calling it Ram's land, he was playing Hindus against Muslims and vice-versa," he said.

He, however, refused to accept that BJP is a spent force and saw Bihar elections as a litmus test for the party.

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