Thursday, August 24, 2017
NEW DELHI: The demolition of the Babri masjid on December 6, 1992 was the biggest attack on the Indian Constitution and the values of peace and amity.
In the 1980s the Ram temple issue was taken over by the Bharatiya Janata Party from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, another Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh progeny. L.K.Advani, the BJP president then, initiated many programs with his Rath Yatra across India being a major mobilisation effort. These programs got a bigger response from a section of society after the implementation of the Mandal Commission in 1990, after which what was dubbed Kamandal politics (politics in name of religion) got sharper teeth.
The culmination of these Rath Yatras, Ram Shila pujans (consecrating brick) was the demolition of the Babri mosque. After this demolition the moderate sounding BJP leader and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee went on to say that this is what happens when the feelings of the majority of the people are not respected. The RSS combine started celebrating this as Hindu Shaurya divas (Day of Hindu bravery). Many of them gloated that the symbol of foreign (Read Muslim) rule had been wiped out. For most who uphold democracy and pluralism,this was and remains a blot on Indian democracy, a day to recall the threat of divisive forces in the country.
Now after a long lapse of time (19 April 2017), the Supreme Court has given the verdict that those accused of leading the demolition and those who are alleged to have hatched the conspiracy should be tried by the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court; the case should be heard on a daily basi; and the accused, including Advani and BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharati should be tried. The court ordered charges to be framed in four weeks, a day-to-day trial and fixed a two-year deadline for the Lucknow Bench to pronounce a judgment in both cases.
The apex court has said that former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh; another major accused cannot be tried till he holds the Constitutional post of the Governor of Rajasthan. The court verdict has come as a set back to the BJP, which at a formal level has shown solidarity with the alleged accused of the crime, while it remains a mystery as to why the CBI has pressed for the case now, as Presidential elections are round the corner and Advani’s name as one of the candidates from the BJP side has been floating in the air.
People like Uma Bharati have said they are proud that the masjid was demolished; there was no conspiracy as all this took place Khullam Khulla (openly). So two cases are going to be tried, one of the demolition of the mosque and other the conspiracy behind the demolition. Whether this demolition was a spontaneous act by the assembled Kar Sevaks or was it a well planned conspiracy? The circumstantial evidence points to the fact that it was a conspiracy.
The first step of the conspiracy was the well planned mobilization through the Rath Yatras and the Ram Shila Pujan. The Rath yatra waswith provocative slogans and left a trail of blood. The Bricks with RAM written on them were consecrated in different parts and were planned to be sent to Ayodhya for temple construction. This further added to the emotive hysteria. The emotions were built through an orchestrated campaign.
The charged sevaks, assisted by the state administration (Kalyan Singh was chief minister of UP then) reached Ayodhya in large numbers from 24.11.92 onwards. All necessary assistance was provided by the state (electricity, water). Rehearsal of the demolition was done by especially trained Volunteers. Nearly 20,000 Kar Sevikas took the responsibility for cooking. Thick ropes, steel hooks etc. were arranged for. On the day of the demolition only trained volunteers were allowed near the mosque: RSS volunteers ensured that others were prevented from going near the structure to ostensibly avoid injury and un-necessary crowding.
All those assembled were not permitted to reach the spot, only trained volunteers were permitted at the site. From the dais nearly by Advani, Joshi, Bharati, Sadhvi Ritambhara were giving the slogans, one of which was Ek Dhakkat Aur Do Babri Masjid tod do (give one more push and break the mosque), yeh to kevel jhanki hai Babri Masjid baki hai (this is a sample, Kashi: Mathura will be next). The well trained volunteers used special implements to destroy the mosque. Kalyan Singh ensured that police forces did not control the mob while they were destroying the masjid. To cap it all a team of kar Sevaks, systematically attacked the media people, especially those with Cameras, to ensure that their were no visuals of their participation.
At the stage, as the domes of the mosque came crumbling down, there was instant celebration. Advani, on one hand was ina joyous mood sharing the victory with others, and then later claiming that this was the saddest day of his life. Uma Bharati hugged Murli Manohar Joshi in a visible expression of joy.
And almost immediately it was said that the mosque was demolished ‘spontaneously’ and was not planned at all. Any person with some knowledge of bringing down structures can say that in spontaneous action ropes and hooks don’t land up just like that. The media reporting of the training given to a select few can also not be ignored.
Let’s have a look at some of the statements of the BJP leaders at the time "Kar Seva will be done with bricks and shovels", was stated by Advani. Joshi said "demolish the masjid, nature of Kar Seva will be determined by Sants and not by courts/demolition prerequisite for temple building". Vinay Katiyar, the Bajrang Dal Chief said, "Masjid will be demolished and debris will be thrown in river Sarayu". Ashok Singhal of VHP was not to be left behind. His resolve was "Decision of Sants will prevail over decision of legal courts". (The sants had already given the call for demolition of the masjid) (Chronicled in, The Demolition: India at Crossroads Neelanjan Mukhopadhayay, 1994,)
A conspiracy it was. Today the attempt in favour of justice is proverbially too late, but at the same time very welcome.