The Babri Masjid Demolition: Events and Consequences

It was one of those ill-fated days which created havoc not just in the country but also within two huge communities in India. 6th of December, 1992 at 10.30 a.m., when the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, which had stood there for centuries and was a sacred place for millions of worshipers was shattered to the ground.

Today, this demolition is seen in the historical context as the Ayodhya Dispute. Going by the facts the very first case came way back in 1885 asking for the construction of the temple encircling a Chabutra in the outer courtyard. The petition was eventually rejected along with the refusal of any form of ownership of the Chabutra. A serious of riots then took place in 1934 in which the masjid was attacked and its dooms destroyed. Since then, the mosque became the bone of contention and the historic Babri Masjid controversy started.

The dispute thereafter took a new dimension on the night of 22nd-23rd December, 1949 when the Ram Lalla idols were secretly installed in the Masjid. It was the Congress Party that was then ruling, both at the centre as well as the state. Nehru’s instruction to remove the idol did not do any good. With the prohibition order that came in eventually, u/s 144/145 Cr. P.C., the Muslims lost their right to worship in the structure. The case was however left unsolved which led to the further aggravation of the problem.

In 1985, the VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) asked for the restoration of the temple and also the establishment of the ‘Ram Janam Bhoomi Mukti Yojna Samiti’. The next development took place in 1986 when the place was unlocked after a long time in the month of February. Two days after this, some Muslim leader, who were not from Ayodhya, came in, to form the ‘Babri Masjid Action Committee’ with Maulana Muzaffar Hussain Kichhochhavi as its President. To counter this, the VHP launched a huge campaign in favor of construction of the temple. It was after the formation of this committee that the Hindu-Muslim cleavage increased even more.

In 1987, protests started taking place in Ayodhya demanding the right of the Muslims to pray there. On the other side, the VHP started organizing the ‘Rath Yatra’ to mobilize the movement further and to gain public support. All cases related to the Babri Masjid were then sent to the Lucknow Bench of the High Court.

Adding to the already existing tension, the ‘Sangh Parivar’ launched a ‘Shila Pujan’ program all over the country to gain public support. The case was then sent forward to the three bench judges. It was then in 1989 that hearing started taking place in the Supreme Court, following the suit filed by the Waqz Board.

The BJP in 1991 gained heavily and formed its Government in U.P. and Congress took to ruling at the centre. With two rival parties on either sides, pushing and pulling started taking place from both the sides making the whole situation all the more critical. Tension and political game increased so much that the Sangh Parivar and the BJP government in UP ended up deciding the destruction of the masjid. Puri Sankaracharya was also in favor of the demolition, among others. There were repeated efforts by the then Chief Minister of UP, Kalyan Singh, to persuade the Muslims to relocate the mosque outside the boundaries set by the VHP. Political slogans started pouring in from both sides and slogans of demolition were being heard aloud. The fate of the Babri Masjid was sealed.

The demolition took place in a much planned and systematic manner. Not only the mosque, the Ram Chabootra (where the Hindus worshipped) and the Sita Rasoi, were all destroyed. It was then followed with the installation of a platform for the Ram Lalla idols. Communal riots took place not only in Ayodhya, but all over the country, killing and massacre took place. In Ayodhya however the situation went out of control and President’s rule was imposed on 8th of December. The delay in doing so was another debatable issue.

This issue has and has always been intrinsically entwined with power politics. From its very beginning each party wanted and has exploited this issue to suit their own agenda and political motives. There were half truth and blatant lies floating in the air and in spite of knowing everything none of the parties felt the need to clarify, deceiving the public and its opinion at large. This is still an unsolved issue. No decision was ever arrived at, but what did happen to the secular status of the country was beyond repair, vacuum that it created with Indian families losing their loved ones, can never be filled and the ones responsible will never be caught. This case in a few more years will die a natural death with files buried deep inside.

Manpreet Sohanpal

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