Home In Pictures Unseen photos of how Babri Masjid demolition was planned and executed in...

Unseen photos of how Babri Masjid demolition was planned and executed in 1992

ThePrint's National Photo Editor Praveen Jain documented the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, including a rehearsal on 5 December.

Bricks bearing the inscription 'Shri Ram' were brought to Ayodhya from a village on the Delhi-Haryana border, for the Ram Janmabhoomi temple | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Bricks bearing the inscription 'Shri Ram' were brought to Ayodhya from a village on the Delhi-Haryana border, for the Ram Janmabhoomi temple | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint

The Covid-19 crisis in India is still escalating, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to lay the foundation stone for the Ram Janmabhoomi temple in a bhoomi pujan ceremony Wednesday afternoon. He is supposed to lay a 22-kg silver brick to symbolise the start of construction.

After decades of dispute, the 2.77 acre piece of land in Ayodhya was allotted by the Supreme Court to the Hindus in November 2019.

Nearly 28 years ago, on 5 December 1992, ThePrint’s National Photo Editor, Praveen Jain, was in Ayodhya when he received a scoop from a BJP parliamentarian about how kar sevaks were rehearsing the demolition of the Babri Masjid that stood on that piece of land, and a blow-by-blow account of how incidents were going to unfold the next day, when the mosque was brought down.

Jain documented the series of events leading up to and including the demolition in his film camera. Here are some unseen images:

In July 1992, the foundation stone-laying ceremony (shilanyas) had taken place at the 2.77-acre plot of land acquired by Kalyan Singh’s BJP government in UP | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Kar sevaks had gathered for a foundation stone-laying ceremony of the proposed main gate ‘Singhdwar’ at disputed site where the Babri Masjid stood | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Human bones were found on the land that was being levelled and prepared in July 1992. The land was registered as a Muslim graveyard in revenue records | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Then-Union HRD minister Arjun Singh calls then-PM P.V. Narasimha Rao from a phone booth at New Delhi railway station before leaving for Lucknow on 3 December 1992. He was headed there to monitor the situation in Ayodhya | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
On 5 December, a kar sevak writes ‘Rakt denge, pran denge’ (we will give blood, we will give our lives) on a wall, a day before the demolition of the Babri Masjid | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Amid a rehearsal a day before the actual demolition, an Uttar Pradesh policeman joins kar sevaks in shouting slogan ‘Jai Shri Ram’, which came to be associated with the Ram Janmabhoomi movement | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Kar sevaks queue up with hammers and pickaxes on 5 December 1992 | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
A man, with his face covered, instructs kar sevaks during the rehearsal | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
The night before the demolition of the Babri Masjid | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
On 6 December, kar sevaks bring sand and water from the Sarayu River, for the symbolic kar seva allowed by the Supreme Court | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
The morning of the demolition, BJP leader L.K. Advani meets leaders of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
When the Babri Masjid was being demolished, many BJP leaders were at the site. Pictured here (from left): Murli Manohar Joshi, then-president of the BJP, L.K. Advani and Vijayaraje Scindia | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
At the Ram Katha Kunj, Vishva Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal (standing) and Uma Bharti (standing behind to his right) meet Rajnath Singh (sitting nearest the camera) | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Kar sevaks demolishing the Babri Masjid | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Advani during his arrest in New Delhi. To his right is wife Kamla Advani and, in front, Narendra Modi  | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
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