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How long Babri Masjid demolition saga will continue?

Even after 23 years, the saga of Babri Masjid demolition continues and courts are yet to punish the culprits and the conspirators. Supreme Court sought responses from Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani and 19 others on an application moved in connection with the dropping of conspiracy charges and the fairness of the CBI probe into the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case. The notices have been issued on a plea against dropping off conspiracy charges against them in the Babri Masjid demolition case. The interim application by Haji Mahboob, whose house was ransacked after the demolition, cast doubts about the efficacy of the probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the conspiracy angle, especially with the party in power being associated with the accused. It alleged that the CBI is controlled by the Home Ministry under Rajnath Singh while Mr. Kalyan Singh is Governor of Rajasthan.

On December 6, 1992, huge mob of Hindu Karsevaks completely devastated the 16th-century Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, in an attempt to repossess the land known as Ram Janmabhoomi (the supposed birthplace of the Lord Rama). The demolition happened after a rally supporting the movement turned violent and resulted in several months of inter-communal rioting between Hindu and Muslim communities, causing the reported deaths of at least 2,000 people.

Hindu, at large believes that, Ram Janmabhoomi was the birthplace of the God-king Rama, which is most sacred and religious sites in the Hindu religion. In 1528, following the Mughal invasion of North India, a mosque was built at the site by the Mughal general Mir Baqi, who came to be named after emperor Babur. According to hearsay, Baqi destroyed a pre-existing temple of Rama at the site; limited historical evidence exists to support this theory. For several centuries, the site was used for religious purposes by both Hindus and Muslims. In 1859, soon after the first recorded incidents of religious violence at the site, the British colonial administration set up a railing to separate the outer courtyard of the mosque to avoid disputes. The status quo remained in place until 1949, when idols of Rama were surreptitiously placed inside the mosque, allegedly by volunteers of the Hindu Mahasabha. This led to an uproar, with both parties filing civil suits laying claim to the land. The placing of the idol was seen as a desecration by the users of the Masjid. The site was declared as disputed land, and the gates of the Masjid were locked. Since then, the angry Hindus were finding an opportunity to rebuild Rama Temple by demolishing Masjid.

In April 2014, a sting operation by Cobrapost claimed that the demolition was not an act of frenzied mobs but an act of sabotage planned with secrecy that no government agency got wind of it. It further said that the sabotage was planned several months in advance by Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Shiv Sena, but not jointly. The documentary ‘Ram Ke Naam’ by Anand Patwardhan, also examines the events preceding the demolition. If we had to believe the sting done by Cobrapost and other media houses then, the Ram Janambhoomi leaders and activists toiled secretly for months on a plan codenamed ‘Operation Janmabhoomi’ and executed it with military precision. Volunteers were trained, logistics painstakingly put in place and the assault on the disputed shrine launched using large surging crowds with volunteers skilled in demolishing structures embedded in it. Not only those interviewed spell out details of the planning, they also allegedly reveal how enthusiastic young participants were deliberately used as cannon fodder by provoking a police firing on karsevaks in 1990 because of the belief of some leaders that the movement would not gather steam unless ‘some Hindus die’.

In the 1980s, the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) intensified its campaign for the construction of a temple dedicated to Rama at the site, with the Bharatiya Janata Party as its political voice. The movement was bolstered by the decision of a district judge, who ruled in 1986 that the gates would be reopened and Hindus will be permitted to worship there. In September 1990, BJP leader L. K. Advani began a “rath yatra” to Ayodhya in support of the Ram Mandir movement. Advani was arrested by the government of Bihar before he could reach Ayodhya. Despite this, a large body of ‘karsevaks’ or Sangh Parivar activists reached Ayodhya, and attempted to attack the mosque. This resulted in a pitched battle with the paramilitary forces that ended with the death of several karsevaks. The BJP withdrew its support to the V.P. Singh government at the centre, necessitating fresh elections. The BJP substantially increased its tally in the union parliament, as well as winning a majority in the Uttar Pradesh assembly.
On 6 December 1992, the RSS and its affiliates organised a rally involving 150,000 VHP and BJP karsevaks at the site of the mosque. The ceremonies included speeches by BJP leaders such as Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti. During the first few hours of the rally, the crowd grew gradually more restless, and began raising militant slogans. A police cordon had been placed around the mosque in preparation for attack. However, around noon, a young man managed to slip past the cordon and climb the mosque itself, brandishing a saffron flag. This was seen as a signal by the mob, who then stormed the structure. The mob set upon the building with axes, hammers, and grappling hooks, and within a few hours, the entire mosque was leveled.

Still, there are evidences and reports published by media house and investigative authorities. Inspite of all that, no political leader was ever arrested and no one booked for demolition. Court has wasted its 23 years of time. Whereas, this has changed the equations in underworld activities, the gangsters divided themselves on religious grounds and gang war started in Mumbai after bomb blast in March, 1993. With Babri Masjid demolition, the hidden hate and revenge politics too surfaced, but justice is yet to be done. Rama is yet to be installed, Muslims yet to be solaced. Whenever courts come up with some or other notices, the wound of common people gets scratched. Let’s see, how long this continues.

Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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