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PRO-MOSQUE HISTORIANS THREATENED

It is another case of Ram Rajya. Historians who are considered pro-mosque in the Ayodhya controversy have been inundated with hate-mail. Steeped in extreme fanaticism, these letters threaten the historians with dire consequences and even death if they refuse to change their stance.

Couched in the most obscene language and brimming with obnoxious threats, some of these letters are signed Jai Sri Ram. "The irony shocks one," exclaims Kapil Kumar, head of the history department in the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). Wondering aloud, the professor continues. "Is the Hindu Rashtra going to be like this: intolerant and so sordidly abusive?" His daughter has been threatened with grave consequences if he does not adopt a pro-Hindu stance.

Despite receiving a series of similar letters herself, professor Suvira Jaiswal of the Jawahar Lal Nehru University remains as convinced of her stand on the Ayodhya issue : "No historian worth his name would say that Lord Rama was born on that very spot. And intimidation won't shake my stand on the issue as an academician".

Another historian from JNU, K.N. Panikker has also been on the receiving end of such hostile letters for a while now.

Having been the first to voice his objection against the telecast of the teleserial Ramayana in 1986, D.N. Jha of the Delhi University says he has been receiving "filthy letters and filthier calls" for quite some time now.

Curiously the hand-writing in many of the letters received separately by these historians tallies.