An elaborate sting operation, conducted on 23 key people of the Ram Janambhoomi movement, claims that the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, was elaborately planned by the various wings of the Sangh parivar and executed with precision by trained volunteers. It wasn’t, as it is claimed, a case of mob frenzy going out of control, leading to the fall of the disputed 16th century structure.
The investigation, carried out by Cobrapost, claims that by piecing together the versions given by the top Ram Janambhhomi players, among them Sakshi Maharaj, Acharya Dharmendra, Uma Bharti, Mahant Vedanti and Vinay Katiyar, it is apparent that top BJP leaders like L K Advani and the then UP chief minister Kalyan Singh, as well the former Congress PM, P V Narasimha Rao, were aware of the planned demolition of Babri Masjid.
Posing as a would-be-author researching his book on the Ayodhya movement, Cobrapost associate editor K Ashish travelled to Ayodhya, Faizabad, Tanda, Lucknow, Gorakhpur, Mathura, Moradabad in UP, Jaipur, Aurangabad, Mumbai and Gwalior interviewing 23 of those who participated in the operation. He clandestinely recorded conversations with them.
If what they claim is true, 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 mosque launched using large surging crowds with volunteers skilled in demolishing structures embedded in it.
Not only do 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 kar sevaks in 1990 because of the belief of some leaders that the movement would not gather steam unless ‘some Hindus die’.
Many of those interviewed by the make-believe author are accused in CBI cases pertaining to the demolition. Yet, they seemed to have no qualms in “confessing” (or boasting) about their role in the episode that left a deep communal schism in India.
Some of those interviewed were, B L Sharma Prem, Dharmendra Singh Gurjar, Jai Bhagwan Goel, Pawan Pandey, Santosh Dubey, Ramji Gupta, Ramesh Pratap Singh, Sadhavi Ritambhara, Kalyan Singh, Prakash Sharma, Champat Rai Bansal, Satish Pradhan, Mahant Avaidyanath, Moreshwar Save, Lallu Singh, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and Swami Nritya Gopal Das.
Their versions make it appear that the plot to demolish the mosque was hatched amid utmost secrecy. Those recruited for training weren’t told their mission till a month ahead of Babri’s demolition. At Sarkhej, Gujarat, Bajrang Dal conducted a month-long training in June 1992 for 38 of its cadre from different regions. The trainers were retired high-ranking military officers, while Acharya Giriraj Kishore, Acharya Dharmendra, Praveen Togadia, Jaibhan Paweya and Ashok Singhal held indoctrination sessions.
In subsequent drills at Neela Teela the cadre learnt skills such as climbing tall structures using grappling hooks and ropes. At a top-secret meeting in the basement of Ram Katha Manch, top VHP office bearers asked this band of 38 to form a Laxman Sena specifically to tear down the disputed structure.
Ramesh Pratap Singh recalls, “Five of those who trained at these camps attended this meeting. The sixth person was Ramji Gupta and there was Durg Singh Chauhan. After the meeting, this office bearer told us Durg Singh will be our contact point and he’ll coordinate all meetings. Decide what you want, how you will form it (Laxman Sena). Thereafter, the office bearer disappeared.” The VHP office bearer he mentions was Champat Rai Bansal.
While the VHP and Bajrang Dal were holding a secret meeting at Ayodhya to plan the Babri assault, Sena leaders too were deliberating on the fate of the ‘shrine’ in North Avenue. Save and Pradhan, among others, attended the meeting. If everything failed, Sena had a plan B: Dynamite Babri.
Claims Goel: “Humare paas dynamite bhi thha, hum dynamite bhi lekar gaye thhe wahan par agar zaroorat padti usko bhi chala dete iss taiyari se gaye the hum (We were carrying dynamite. If the need arose, we had gone prepared to use it).” In 1990, Sena’s Suresh Baghel had tried this, but his attempt was foiled and he was arrested with 28 dynamite sticks.
In the end, petrol bombs were apparently used. Former BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh was seen planting a petrol bomb by fellow karsevak Jaibhan Singh Paweya. Here’s what Paweya claims: “Ek petrol bomb do baje koi lekar aaya jo eent mein lagane ke baad dhuan nikal kar reh gaya uske baad hila bhi nahi ... Brij Bhushan laya thha arre petrol bomb (Somebody brought a petrol bomb around 2 pm and planted it between the bricks. It didn’t work, only released some smoke. Brij Bhushan brought the petrol bomb).”
Apart from petrol bombs, the Bajrang Dal forward squad used chisels, hammers, pickaxes, spades and grappling ropes to bring down the shrine.
There were two determined attempts to demolish themosque - first in October 1990 and the second in December 1992. The first attempt ended in police firing in which Karsevaks died. Recounting the incident, Sakshi Maharaj says VHP leader Ashok Singhal was to blame for it. “In front of me, Singhal told Maharaj (Vamdev), the movement won’t gain momentum unless some people die. Maharaj Vamdev said it’d be disastrous if children die. Singhal again said the movement won’t get a fillip until they die.” Sakshi claims well-known karsevaks like the Kothari brothers from Bengal and Mahendra Singh of Rajastan were targeted by police at the behest of vested interests spearheading the Ram Janmabhoomi movement.
Uma Bharti blames Vinay Katiyar for the killing of Kothari brothers: “Jo log marey thhe wo Vinay ki galti se. Galti bhi nahi wo bhagdar machi, wo gali chhoti thhi. Galti matlab wo bhag gaya chhodkar bhag gaya (They got killed because of Vinay’s mistake. A stampede began and the lane was narrow...I mean he fled the scene abandoning his group).
Sensing the do-or-die mood of Ram bhakts in Ayodhya, a sankalp, or oath was administered. The task of initiating the oath fell on Ram Vilas Vedanti. The vow said: “On this day of December 6 we Ram bhakts take this oath on the premises of Ram Lalla that it is necessary to remove the structure from where it stands to make a grand temple. It is necessary to remove the structure to make a Ram Janmabhoomi Temple. We take this oath for Ram Lalla.” Immediately after the oath, the Babri assault began. Some leaders at the forefront of the movement, like Vinay Katiyar, B L Sharma, Santosh Dubey, Sakshi Maharaj and Mahant Ram Vilas Vedanti openly acknowledge the then prime minister Narasimha Rao’s ‘supportive role’.
The then CM Kalyan Singh apparently knew of the demolition plan. Mahant Vedanti claims to have informed him about it a day before: “Paanch December ki raat ko hi Kalyan Singh ke paas samachar bhej diya gaya thha 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 Kalyan was informed. He was told that if need be the structure would be felled. You decide what you’d do).”
Apparently, Kalyan Singh made up his mind to resign on December 6 morning, when he came to know the assault on the structure had begun, but senior leaders like H V Sheshadri and Murli Manohar Joshi dissuaded him, while BJP leaders in Lucknow made him captive the whole day until a clean job of the mosque had been made.
TOI has no independent confirmation of these claims, or whether the purported confessions are accurate or not.
–Times of India