Why not tell the whole truth? In your speech, which was published in the media, you said that firstly it was Advaniji and secondly the Congress that were responsible for the demolition of the disputed Babri structure. Neither did you fail to add, ?If the Congress uttered one more word, I will not stop from revealing much more.? Corroborating your statement, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh said, ?The only fault of the Congress is that it believed and accepted that Shri Kalyan Singh, the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, will truly abide by his undertaking given to the apex court that so long as it does not take any decision on the issue of the disputed land, till then no construction work will begin on the 2.77 acres of land.?
The reality is far from this. I, then as Sahsarkaryavah of the RSS, was an eyewitness to the entire sequence of events at Ayodhya from December 3 to 6, 1992. On October 30, 1992, at the fifth Dharma Sansad in Delhi, which happened to be the Gita Jayanti too, it was decided to begin the work of construction of the Ramjanmabhoomi temple on December 6, 1992. The work of carving stones for the Ramjanmabhoomi temple in Gujarat and at Karsevakpuram in Ayodhya had started three years earlier and the pieces had been joined together to form a part of the temple which was kept at Karsevakpuram for the devotees to visit. Prior to this, in the month of July too, the karsevaks had gathered at Ayodhya to lay the foundation of the platform on which the nrityamandap pillars and walls of the temple were to be erected. At that point in time, the apex court promised that if the karseva were stopped, then all the cases pertaining to the disputed property would be withdrawn and a decision taken at the earliest possible.
Out of the 2.77 acres of land which the Government of Uttar Pradesh had acquired on October 10, 1991, the disputed structure, called the Babri Masjid stood on merely 0.73 acres while the remaining 2.04 acres of land belonged to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. When the land was acquired by the Uttar Pradesh government, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad had even said, ?Let our land remain with us,? but the Government of Uttar Pradesh promised that permission would be granted to the Ramjanmabhoomi Trust for constructing the temple on the complete 2.77 acres of land. The acquisition was challenged and the apex court issued orders that no permanent structure should be constructed but granted its permission to construct temporarily. The apex court had hoped that at the maximum within six weeks the issue of acquisition would be solved. But this did not happen; on the contrary, on July 15, 1992, even the permission for a temporary construction was rejected and orders were given to maintain a status quo.
According to the decision taken by the fifth Dharma Sansad to begin construction work on December 6, the karsevaks had started collecting at Ayodhya from November 30 onwards. On November 30, over one lakh karsevaks and general public had reached Ayodhya. On the night of December 4, a meeting of the Ramjanmabhoomi trustees, sadhus, leaders of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and local administrators was held where the prime concern that was voiced was over the safety of the thousands of people who had gathered from the adjoining villages and these included women among whom were many with their newborn infants, apart from the karsevaks. If something went amiss, panic might spread and a stampede may occur. In such a situation what would be the plight of women and children? After some discussion it was decided that to give these devotees a sense of participation in the great endeavour that??in the construction of the Ramjanmabhoomi temple we too had contributed our bit??these devotees will be given an opportunity to offer a handful of sand at the Sinhdwar for which a deep pit had been dug for laying the foundation stone. Then they were to return to their respective villages and towns. Only 40 to 50,000 karsevaks were to remain behind to prevent any obstruction from the Central Government in the construction of the temple. This message was communicated on December 5 to the large public that had assembled in the large grounds of the Ramkathakunj.
Meanwhile, Shri LK Advani and Dr Murli Manohar Joshi after spreading awareness at Kashi and Mathura respectively reached Lucknow on the evening of December 5 where they addressed a mammoth gathering and reached Ayodhya at 11 o?clock at night. After meeting both of them I conveyed to them the decision taken at the meeting held on December 5?that the general public may collect sand from the Saryu river to fill the pit dug for the Sinhdwar before returning to their respective villages and towns and the various programmes fixed for that day. It was then decided that a yajna would be performed on the already constructed platform built in July. The ceremony was to be finally concluded at the auspicious time of 12 p.m., after which the construction programme would be started at the site which was outside the 2.77 acres of land. Subsequently, the site was marked out. It was hoped that by doing this, the orders of the court would not be transgressed.
Arguments and counter arguments regarding the case related to the issue of the acquired land, which was going on at the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court, had been completed till November 4 and it was hoped that by November 30 a decision would be announced. But on November 30 the court extended the date to December 4 to announce its decision. If the decision were to be announced before December 6, it would have been possible to start the karseva without any hindrance. To ensure this, the then RSS Sarkaryavah, Man. Rajju Bhaiya met the then Prime Minister in Delhi. To quote Rajju Bhaiya regarding his meeting: I met Prime Minister Narasimha Rao on December 3 and pleaded with him to ask the court to prepone its decision regarding the date of its announcement. It may be so arranged that at the maximum the court'sdecision could be obtained by 7th. I tried to make the Prime Minister understand that if this was not done, it would be very difficult to keep the karsevaks under control. For two to three days, we can keep the karsevaks busy in washing and carrying the carved stones to the construction site. (The Indian Express, January 17).
On December 4 the court'sdecision was being awaited with great eagerness but on that day the court extended the date of its decision to December 11. Man. Rajju Bhaiya again met the Prime Minister and tried to persuade him to convince the High Court to give its decision soon. But he replied, ?What can I do? How can I get the decision made before the scheduled date?? Rajju Bhaiya suggested, ?You can submit an application to the apex court instructing the High Court to expedite its decision.? At that time Shri Narasimha Rao'semissary Shri Rangarajan Kumaramangalam had even told Shri Rajju Bhaiya that he would do likewise. But Shri Narasimha Rao did no such thing; actually he wanted the structure to be demolished.
There are some reasons for my making such an observation. Shri Narasimha Rao'sjournalist friend, Ved Pratap Vedik, who belonged to Indore and happened to be my friend, had told me, ?I had been in constant touch with Shri Narasimha Rao since December 6. When I told him that the entire structure had been demolished, he had exclaimed, ?Oh, it was a great deception. I will give instructions for the reconstruction of the mosque at that site.? Then I told him, ?How will you get a mosque created at that site? Shri Ramlala has been installed inside the structure since 1949 and regular prayers, worship and visits are performed there and even the court has not taken any final decision in this regard.? Then he replied, ?I will talk about this on December 10 in front of the press conference?.
The truth came to light when after the demolition of the structure, a ban was imposed on the RSS on December 10. On December 10 itself, an eminent Congress leader of Maharashtra had sent a fax in Marathi which said, ?You already know that I am well aware of what all goes on in our ?kitchen cabinet?. A minister from our ?kitchen cabinet? had a hand in the incident that took place on December 6 at Ayodhya. If any action is taken against the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Bajrang Dal or the Shiv Sena, it will have an adverse impact on the public. But even the RSS is being held answerable for that incident and plans are afoot to impose a ban on it. So far as the question of Nagpur is concerned, Shri Bala Saheb Deoras is not our opponent. He desires that our government should continue to rule for five years. But if a ban is imposed on it, then the group which is our sympathiser will become our opponent. Hence, no ban should be imposed on the Sangh.?
But that very day by imposing the ban on the Sangh, the Sangh offices were put under lock and key. Subsequently the Allahabad High Court declared the ban as illegal. When I met the then Pracharak Pramukh Shri Abaji Thatte that day, I got the opportunity to see that fax. But later on it was destroyed. Later I met that Congress leader at the house of Shri KR Malkani. Shri Malkani was at that time a member of the Rajya Sabha. When I asked the Congress leader about that fax, he replied, ?Not one, I had sent two faxes. I had sent one on December 12 in which I had pleaded with the Prime Minister that the UP government has been dissolved but other BJP-ruled state governments should not be dismissed. But neither of my requests was heard.?
On glancing at the series of events that took place since December 6 it becomes clear that the demolition of the structure was not merely as a consequence of the agitated karsevaks, but even the government had a role in it. According to the scheduled programme the crowd that had gathered since the morning had begun collecting sand after taking a dip in the Saryu and filling the pit for the Sinhdwar; many of the people had even stared leaving. But at the same time, many streams of karsevaks and public staying in the nearby villages had begun flowing in. All roads of Ayodhya were blocked. Only heads of people could be seen everywhere. On the other hand, arrangements were afoot for the yajna on the platform. The auspicious time for starting the karseva after completing the yajna was 12 afternoon. The entire enclosure of the structure from the Sita Rasoi (kitchen) to the Sinhdwar was surrounded by poles so that the area could be kept free from the crowd. Shri Advaniji and Joshiji had been asked to reach the site at 10 in the morning. They came and as soon as they entered the site, the new stream of karsevaks, which had been waiting, became restless to enter inside. The police was unable to control them. I too tried to reason with them but some people jumped and reached inside. One saint, Shri Dharma Das took a stick and persuaded them sit on one side of the platform. On the other side some women who were getting pushed in the crowd were made to sit near the poles.
No arrangement had been made by the swayamsevaks as the entire arrangement had been made by the security forces. Behind the enclosure, there stood a wall and also a large banyan tree. Some karsevaks succeeded in escaping the cordon set up by the security forces and after jumping the wall, they reached the enclosure. Some two or three among them even managed to climb the dome. On seeing them, the karsevaks, who were seated on the ground, became restless and jumping the iron enclosure surrounding the structure, climbed atop the dome. They started to attack the dome with axes and hammers used for construction work but the dome was so strong that they used to bounce back. Meanwhile, around 11 am, an explosion was heard and a huge hole appeared on the back portion of the structure. Lo behold, the karsevaks pulled out the adjoining girders and began widening the hole and around 1.50 pm, the western structure came crumbling down. Around 3 to 3.30, the eastern dome collapsed and by 5 to 5.15 pm, the central dome came tumbling down.
All this was going on, the priest and some karsevaks brought out the idols of Ramlala. After the entire structure had been razed to the ground, the place where the central dome had collapsed, a temporary enclosure was put up by 9 o?clock at night for installing Ramlala amidst the chanting of mantras and other rituals. After this, there was a regular stream of visitors and this continued throughout the night. Deepavali was celebrated in the whole of Ayodhya.
When the karsevaks had climbed atop, Seshadriji, Advaniji, Kumari Uma Bharati, Sadhvi Ritambhara and Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia were repeatedly appealing to the people from the local Rambhavan near Ramkatha Kunj to climb down and stop the destruction as that was not part of the plan. But the excited karsevaks did not listen. One of the reasons for their anger was the extension of the court decision from December 4 to 11. Many karsevaks had started saying from the fifth evening, ?Many times we have been called. Last July we went away. This time we have not come to fill the sand. We will go back only after doing something.?
It was so right of Rajju Bhaiya to tell Narasimha Rao that try to get the decision announced by the 9th, but he did not do anything. Eminent columnist, Shri MJ Akbar wrote in his column (Times of India, 8 February 2009.) that the true blame lies on those who had promised to save the mosque and later on, deliberately became a party in its destruction. The prime villain was Prime Minister Narasimha Rao and his left hand Home Minister SB Chavan. The central force was present to protect the structure but it stood on one side. Later when Shri Narasimha Rao was asked to give an explanation, he said that he was asleep the entire day. Rao remained inactive while Shankar Rao Chavan kept on snoring. His snoring was so effective that his son was awarded the leadership of Maharashtra state. The council of ministers and the Congress were party to this scheme of Rao.
Shri Advaniji sat deeply dejected in Rambhavan. It was then decided that a statement should be prepared. In the first draft that was prepared it was decided to use the word ?regret? for the demolition of the structure. On being shown to Advaniji, he said, ?Not regret, ?unfortunate? should be written. To construct the temple the structure had to be demolished but it should have been done under the law. But the way this has been done will only delay the construction of the temple by another 10 to 12 years.?
Today we find that even after 17 years the auspicious day for the construction of a magnificent temple has not arrived. By now plenty of water has flown under the River Saryu. According to the orders of the apex court the entire site was dug deep under the supervision of Japanese archaeologists by the Archaeological Survey of India. After digging, only remains of a temple could be found till five levels below. Shri Shahabuddin of the Babri Masjid Action Committee had said if the remains of a temple are found inside I would withdraw my case, but to this day no petition has been withdrawn.
Shri MJ Akbar had rightly concluded in his column with?there is strength in the argument that by making the effort to stop work on the temple by going through the technical and legal aspects of the issue will only lead to serious communal struggle and so such aspects should be ignored. If this is right then every party, no matter how secular it proclaims itself to be through the loudspeaker, it shows agreement with the BJP that permission should be granted to reconstruct a temple in place of the mosque. It may adopt any legal means or not, ultimately the will of the people will prevail. Then why blame Kalyan Singh alone?
All that can be said about the incident of December 6 is that the supporters of the temple wanted to begin the construction of the temple from the Sinhdwar to reach the sanctum sanctorum under the legal provisions alone, but history does not get guided, it happens and when it does happen it leads to such disturbances.