New Delhi: The acquittal of all the 32 accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case Wednesday could be seen as a final closure to the 500-year-long movement.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) hailed this decision, with its sarkaryavah (general secretary) Suresh ‘Bhaiya ji’ Joshi welcoming the special court’s decision in a formal statement on Twitter.
सीबीआई की विशेष अदालत द्वारा विवादास्पद ढाँचे के विध्वंस मामले में सभी
आरोपियों को ससम्मान बरी करने के निर्णय का राष्ट्रीय स्वयंसेवक संघ स्वागत
– सुरेश (भय्याजी) जोशी, सरकार्यवाह, राष्ट्रीय स्वयंसेवक संघ pic.twitter.com/bFq2OGb7rx
— RSS (@RSSorg) September 30, 2020
However, following the statement, the Congress launched a frontal attack on the RSS and BJP, blaming its leaders for the Babri Masjid demolition.
Many in the RSS and BJP believe that this statement is merely a “window-dressing” and an outcome of the Congress’ “frustration” as it is increasingly getting marginalised.
“The fact of the matter is that every time Congress launches an attack on the RSS-BJP, especially on Ayodhya issue, the former’s credentials as an anti-Hindu party get a fillip,” said a senior BJP leader.
“On one hand, Congress leaders were lighting lamps and celebrating the beginning of the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya on 5 August, projecting themselves as faithful Hindus and devotees of Lord Rama, and now they are again raking up the issue of Babri Masjid demolition. This leaves everyone confused, where does the Congress stand?” he asked.
Meanwhile, RSS functionaries believe that they need not react to the Congress’ statement as they don’t believe in reacting to such statements by political parties. Their consistent stand has been to avoid reacting to any such political statements.
In the past too, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and many other party leaders have consistently attacked the RSS, but the latter hasn’t reacted.
According to a senior RSS functionary, the organisation believes in doing its work quietly.
“Its philosophy is simple that ultimately the whole society has to come together to work for nation building. Many of those who have been its vocal critics came and either joined it or worked with it in the past. So it doesn’t take political statements against itself seriously,” said the functionary.
Some political parties have their own compulsions. They have to take an anti-Hindu stand to keep their politics alive. And the consequences are clear that such parties are getting marginalised and rejected by people, the functionary added.
Unfolding of events on 6 December 1992
It would be interesting to recall how the events on 6 December, 1992 unfolded, which led to the demolition of the Babri Masjid or what many call a disputed structure.
More than 1.5 lakh Hindus had reached Ayodhya for the symbolic kar seva on 6 December. The efforts of the state administration and paramilitary forces to stop people from coming to the place where Lord Rama was born (Ramjanmasthan) proved futile.
The forces deployed in and around Ayodhya included 35 companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary, 195 companies of paramilitary forces, four companies of CRPF, 15 tear gas squads, 15 police inspectors, 30 police sub-inspectors and 2,300 police constables.
Both political and religious leaders (most of whom were made accused in the demolition case) present there were addressing the crowd since morning. Although it started like a public rally but within a couple of hours, the crowd grew restless and started raising slogans.
In spite of clear instructions given by the leaders that the disputed structure shouldn’t be disturbed, devotees of Lord Ram grew impatient. The crowd ripped through the heavy barricades, which had been put up around the Babri structure for its safety.
Within the next five hours, the disputed structure was pulled down. Following this, a statue of Ram Lalla was installed at a flat platform. The place was enclosed by a boundary wall made of bricks and a canopy was also erected for the protection of the statue. The pooja also continued there. Remnants of a Hindu temple were also recovered from the debris of the demolished Babri structure.
After the demolition, two FIRs were filed at the Ram Janmabhoomi police station.
One of the FIRs was lodged by SHO Priyamvada Nath Shukla. This FIR was registered against unknown kar sevaks on 6 December. The second FIR was lodged by chowki-in-charge Ganga Prasad Tiwari.
The inquiry reports were submitted to Circle Officer of Inayat Nagar R.P. Tandon. This inquiry report was later given to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The second FIR invoked sections 153A, 153B, 505 of the Indian Penal Code. It mentioned the time of occurrence of the demolition as 10 am on 6 December.
This FIR named senior VHP leaders Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore and Vishnu Hari Dalmia, senior BJP leaders L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Vinay Katiyar and Uma Bharti, and Sadhvi Ritambhara.
On the basis of this FIR, Advani, Dalmia, Singhal, Joshi, Bharti and Katiyar were arrested on 8 December, but they were released on 10 January 1993 due to lack of evidence.
On 10 December 1992, the investigation regarding one of the main cases lodged after the demolition was handed over to the CBI.
The writer has co-authored a book titled ‘Ramjanmabhoomi: Truth, Evidence, Faith’. He is a research director with Delhi-based think tank Vichar Vinimay Kendra.
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