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Babri mosque demolition was ‘planned’

Updated April 05, 2014

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File photo
File photo

NEW DELHI: An elaborate sting operation, conducted on 23 key people of the Ram Janambhoomi movement by an Indian website magazine, has claimed that the demolition of the Babri Masjid on Dec 6, 1992, was elaborately planned by various wings of the Sangh Parivar and executed with precision by trained volunteers.

It wasn’t, as it was made out, a case of mob frenzy going out of control, according to the sting.

The Bharatiya Janata Party questioned the timing of the report — three days before India goes to the polls — and urged the election commission to stop its broadcast.

The investigation, carried out by Cobrapost, claimed that by piecing together versions given by the top Ram Janambhhomi players, it is apparent that top BJP leaders like L. K. Advani and the then UP chief minister Kalyan Singh, as well as the former premier, Narasimha Rao, were aware of the planned demolition of mosque.

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 Janambhoomi” 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 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 volunteers 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.

Those recruited for training were not told about their mission till a month before the demolition.

Bajrang Dal conducted a month-long training in Gujarat 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 the volunteers learnt skills such as climbing tall structures using grappling hooks and ropes. At a top-secret meeting in a basement, top VHP office-bearers asked this band of 38 to form a force to tear down the disputed structure.

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 New Delhi. If everything failed, Sena had a plan B: dynamite Babri, the Cobrapost alleged.

—By arrangement with the Times of India