Operation Janmabhoomi: Cobrapost Revisits the Conspiracy and the People behind Babri Masjid Demolition on December 1992 to Find it to be an Act of Planned Sabotage
Cobrapost brings to light how certain leaders of Ram Janmaboomi movement conspired to and succeeded in razing the sixteenth century disputed structure to dust on December 6, 1992, a conspiracy even an apex investigation agency like CBI has not been able to conclusively establish after years of investigation.
Cobrapost Associate Editor K. Ashish interviewed 23 of the leaders at the forefront of Ram Janmabhoomi movement who were involved in the demolition of Babri Masjid, either as conspirators or as executors of the conspiracy that was hatched to bring down the disputed structure. Posing as an author researching for his proposed book on Ayodhya movement, Ashish spoke to Champat Rai Bansal, Ramji Gupta, Prakash Sharma, Ramesh Pratap Singh, Vinay Katiyar, Jaibhan Singh Paweya, Dharmendra Singh Gurjar, B.L. Sharma Prem, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, Sadhvi Uma Bharti, Kalyan Singh and Lallu Singh from Bjrang Dal¬–VHP–BJP combine; Jai Bhagwan Goel, Pawan Pandey, Santosh Dubey, Satish Pradhan and Moreshwar Save from Shiv Sena; Swami Sachidanand Sakshi Maharaj, Mahant Ram Vilas Vedanti, Sadhvi Ritambhara, Mahant Avaidyanath, Acharya Dharmendra and Swami Nritya Gopal Das from various Hindu religious orders and seats.
Of these, the Liberhan Commission has indicted 15, the CBI has made 19 accused in its chargesheet, while leaving out B. L. Sharma, Mahant Avaidyanath, Nritya Gopal Das and Ram Vilas Vedanti. In all, 40 are facing trial in CBI court, of which 32 have been made accused in FIR No. 92/197 as executors, while the remaining 8 have been made accused in FIR No. 92/198 as conspirators.
Ashish visited Ayodhya, Faizabad, Tanda, Lucknow, Gorakhpur, Mathura and Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh, Jaipur in Rajasthan, Aurangabad and Mumbai in Maharashtra and Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh to interview these principal actors of Operation Janmabhoomi, a codename given to the plan by the conspirators themselves which Cobrapost found apt to use.
The conspiracy was hatched at the level of two Hindu outfits, VHP and Shiv Sena, but not jointly.
Both these outfits had trained their cader as part of an action plan, many months before it was implemented on December 6.
A Balidani Jatha, or suicide squad, was formed with the trained RSS workers.
Bajrang Dal, the youth wing of VHP, had its training in Surkhej of Gujarat, while Shiv Sena trained its cader in Bhind–Morena.
The training regime included imparting skills such as climbing taller structures with help of grappling hooks and ropes and digging earth with implements like pickaxes and spades, apart from regular drills and physical exercises.
Traditional implements such as chisels, heavy-duty hammers, pickaxes, spades, sabbals, and other tools were procured in large numbers and put to use on December 6, to pull the disputed structure down.
A Sankalp, or an oath, was administered to the lakhs of karsevaks in the presence of all the frontline leaders of the movement like L. K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore and Acharya Dharmendra, apart from the entire galaxy of Hindu sants. The Sankalp conducted from the Ram Katha Manch gave a call for the construction of a grand Ram Temple at the disputed site after removing the structure. The assault on Babri was begun as soon as the Sankalp was conducted by Mahant Ram Vilas Vedanti.
VHP cobbled together a band of 1200 RSS workers secreted from their respective zones a few days before the demolition. This secret formation was given the name of Laxman Sena and Ramji Gupta was given charge of this army which was formed to dismantle the Babri. It’s clarion call was “Jai Sheshavtaar”.
Shiv Sena, on the other hand, had a similar band of local workers at Ayodhya, called Pratap Sena, which provided all the logistics for the action plan.
The RSS–VHP–Bajrang Dal combine held a secret meeting at Hindu Dham at Ayodhya a day before the demolition. Attended by Ashok Singhal, Vinay Katiyar, V. H. Dalmia, Moropant Pingle and Mahant Avaidyanath, it was decided in the meeting that the Babri masjid will be razed down.
The RSS and BJP had held a secret meeting at Hanuman Bagh which was attended by H. V. Sheshadri from the RSS and all senior leaders of BJP present at Ayodhya, Vinay Katiyar, Uma Bharti and L. K. Advani.
Shiv Sena had its secret parleys at North Avenue in Delhi in November 1992 which was attended by senior leaders such as Jai Bhagwan Goel, Moreshwar Save, Satish Pradhan, Anand Dhige and others in which a strategy was chalked out before making a move to Ayodhya. Both Balasaheb Thackeray and Raj Thackeray kept a close tab on all these activities.
Shiv Sena had planned to use dynamite to bring down Babri if traditional methods failed.
Apart from traditional tools, the Bihar team used petrol bombs to dismantle the structure.
The local administration goaded and helped the frenzied mobs of karsevaks in removing the “headache” the Babri had become for them.
Many antique artefacts were secreted from the Babri. For instance, two pieces of the stone engraving erected there by Mir Baqi in 1528 that fell apart are lying with Pawan Pandey who wants to sell them.
As the Cobrapost investigation reveals, apart from these conspirators, there are two more persons who responsible for Babri demolition as both were keeping a close watch on the developments but did nothing. Kalyan Singh, then chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, had a foreknowledge of what was going to happen. Mahant Ram Vilas Vedanti quite categorically claims to have conveyed it to the Chief Minister on the night before December 6: “Paanch December ki raat ko hi Kalyan Singh ke paas samachar bhej diya gaya tha aur usmein ye kaha gaya tha ki yadi awashayakta padti hai toh dhancha bhi tod diya jayega aapko kya bhoomika nirwah karni hai vichar kar lijye (On the night of December 5 itself Kalyan Singh was informed of it and he was told that if need be the structure would be felled. Now, you decide what you have to do).” Not only that, Sakshi Maharaj also claims to have been giving Kalyan Singh a minute-by-minute account of the developments. Yet, Kalyan Singh played a Nero.
It is also learned that at one point, Kalyan Singh had made up his mind to resign in the morning of December 6 when he came to know an assault on the disputed structure had begun. But H. V. Sheshadri and Murli Manohar Joshi persuaded him to delay it until a clean job of the mosque had been made at Ayodhya. These leaders feared that the moment he tenders his papers, President rule would be proclaimed and army would be called in, resulting in a lot of bloodletting.
There were two determined attempts on Babri, first in 1990 and then in 1992. The first attempt was foiled by the police and resulted in killing of karsevaks. However, Sakshi Maharaj, one of the frontline leaders of the movement, alleges the killings were orchestrated by vested interests in the movement who wanted human blood to give the movement a further push. Squarely blaming, Ashok Singhal for the killings, Sakshi says: “Toh mere saamne Ashok Singhal ji ne kaha Maharaj kuch log nahi marenge toh andolan upar nahi uthega toh aap agya do jaane ki … toh Ashok Singhal ji ne kaha ... Vamdev ji ne kaha bache marenge toh bahut kaam kharab ho jayega ... Bole Maharaj jab tak nahi marenge tab tak kuch hoga nahi andolan, tabhi barhega (Before me, Ashok Singhal said ‘Maharaj (to Vamdev), the movement would not gain momentum unless some people die’. This is what Ashok Singhal said. Maharaj Vamdev said it will be disastrous if children die. Ashok Singhal again said the movement will not get a fillip until they die).” Raising again a figure at the dubious role some leaders of the movement played, Sakshi says: “Main uss din Ayodhya tha. Goli mujhe kyon nahi lagi main nahi jaanta, lekin ek bhi goli Mulayam Singh ne nahi chalwayi. Humare logon ne hi gin gin kar ache logon par goli chalwayi jo andolan ke praneta the main naam nahi loonga … humein pata hi nahi humare log hi karwa rahe hain ye toh logon ne kaha jab tak log marenge nahi andolan upar uthega nahi … agar goli Mulayam Singh ne chalwayi hoti toh Mulayam Singh ke jaane ke baad … BJP ki sarkar aayi goli chalwane walon par karravayi kyon nahi hui. Isase bada praman aapko nahi milega unko achi achi postein di gayi kyon kyonki wo kahin na kahin relation mein the jinhone goli chalayi … aur aur goli chalane mein aire gaire nathu khaire marne chahiye wo Rajasthan ke adhyaks hain Mahendra unke seene mein goli lagni chahiye, Bengal ke Kothari bandhu hain unke seene mein goli lagni chahiye kisne ye sunishchit kiya Mulayam kya jaanein Kothari kaun hain Mulayam kya jaanein Mahendra Nath kaun hain (I was in Ayodhya that day, then why didn’t I take a bullet. I don’t know. But I was not Mulayam Singh who ordered firing. It was rather our own people who got our well-known people shot one by one. I will not name them as they are the founders of the movement … we did not know it was our own people who were playing this game. Then, people said the movement will not get a fillip unless people die … if Mulayam Singh ordered firing then when the BJP government came to power why those who fired upon them were not punished. Instead they were awarded good posts because these people were their relations. When there was firing all sundry people should have died. Why Mahendra from Rajasthan and Kotharis from Bengal were shot at. Who ensured that? How come Mulayam knew who Kotharis and Mahendra are).”
Echoing Sakshi, Sadhvi Uma Bharti blames Vinay Katiyar for the killing of Kothari brothers on October 30, 1990: “Jo log mare the wo Vinay ki galti se. Galti bhi nahi wo bhagdar machi wo gali chhoti thi. Galti matlab wo bhag gaya chhodkar bhag gaya (The fellows got killed because of Vinay’s mistake. Actually, there began a stampede and the bye lane was narrow. By mistake I mean he fled the scene abandoning his group),” reminisces Bharti of the events of the day.
This callous face of Hindutva and its leadership bears out in full measure when the reporter tells Mahant Avaidyanath about the plight of the old parents of Vinod Vats who was killed in karseva in 1990. Nonchalantly making light of such supreme sacrifice, the leading light of the movement says: “Sabko marna hai tumko bhi hai mujhe bhi marna hai. Mrityu ko kaun rok sakta hai (All have to die, both you and me. Death is inevitable).” He has the same philosophy for his old, helpless parents: “Wo bhi marenge unko bhi marna hai (They will also die. They also have to die).”
The Cobrapost investigation also reestablishes the fact that the dispute arose after the statue of Ram Lala were fraudulently instated within the mosque in 1949. One of the witnesses who saw it happen is B. L. Sharma Prem. It all happened before his eyes, Sharma claims, when he was posted in Ayodhya with Military Police as a Warrant Officer. Priest Ram Chandra Das, a regular visitor to their unit, informed them how on a particular day would appear Ram Lala and requested him to bring in some friends. Debunking the theory of Devine Appearance of Ram Lala, Sharma avers: “Arre ji kahe ke prakat hone wale … prakat kiya hai … wo toh maharaji ka kaam tha na Ram Chandra Paramhans (How would He (Ram Lala) appear? He was made to appear … It was the handiwork of Maharaj Ram Chandra Paramhans).”
April 4, 2014
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