6 December 1992- When Babri Masjid was Demolished

December 06

Mohammad Jamil

Babri Masjid was demolished by thousands of Hindu fanatics on Dec 6, 1992. Muslims throughout the world express their grief and observe martyrdom of the mosque every year on this day.

More than 2000 people were killed in the riots that broke out following the demolition in many major Indian cities including Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad.

The Babri Mosque Inquiry Commission report had stated that the groups most directly responsible for that violence against Muslims were Vishwa Hindu Preshad (VHP), the Bajrang Dal and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, collectively forming Sangh Privar.

The then Congress government headed by late Narasimha Rao at the centre was equally responsible, and it could not be absolved of the gory events. The commission also nominated L.K. Advani, Lalu Parsad Yadev and Murli Manohar Joshi as main culprits behind this incident. In this regard, justice has been delayed; and justice delayed is justice denied.

Instead of expediting the case, the Supreme Court on Nov 18, 2016 hearing agreed to consider BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s plea as to why Ayodhya temple dispute matters should be heard on a day-to-day basis. A bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice A. R. Dave listed the plea of Swamy to be taken up after one week.

On February 26, the apex court had allowed Swamy to intervene in the pending matters relating to the Ayodhya title dispute with his plea seeking construction of Ram temple at site of demolished disputed structure. BJP leader had earlier moved plea to allow construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya at disputed site, and had asked for urgent hearing. This was another effort by BJP leader Subramanian to complicate case and to keep matter lingering in court.

In his petition, Swamy had claimed that under the practices prevalent in Islamic countries, a mosque could be shifted to any other place for public purposes like constructing a road, whereas a temple once constructed cannot be touched. He had also sought directions to expedite the disposal of several petitions challenging the Allahabad High Court verdict of three-way division of the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya on September 30, 2010.

In Nov 2016, the Supreme Court sought the responses of BJP leader LK Advani and 19 others on a petition that sought their trial on charges of conspiracy to demolish Babri Masjid in 1992.

The Central Bureau of Investigation that investigated the case had accused them all, but a trial court discharged them in a decision upheld by the Allahabad High Court in 2010. The apex court intervention following a petition by Haji Mahboob Ahmad, a petitioner in the mosque demolition case could revive the inconclusive questions about the role of the senior leaders of the ruling party in the demolition that triggered violence across the country and polarised the society.

A Bench led by Chief Justice H.L. Dattu issued notice to BJP veterans L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Union Minister Uma Bharti and Himachal Pradesh Governor Kalyan Singh. The Supreme Court also asked the CBI to explain why it unduly delayed the appeal against the HC order. The agency has been given four weeks to file its reply. Ahmad’s recent petition contends that trial court bifurcated the actual demolition into separate cases.

It has to be mentioned that one-man commission of inquiry was established on 16th December 1992, which had given its report after 17 years. However, the matter is still in the Supreme Court after 24 years. The commission recorded statements of several politicians, bureaucrats and police officials including Kalyan Singh, late Narasimha Rao, former deputy prime minister L.K. Advani and his colleagues Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharati as well as Mulayam Singh Yadav.

The report had stated in unambiguous terms that the demolition of the Babri Masjid was planned, systematic, and was the intended outcome of a climate of communal intolerance deliberately created by the Sangh Parivar and its sister affiliates, including BJP. Justice M S Liberhan had stated: “It cannot be assumed even for a moment that L K Advani, A B Vajpayee or M M Joshi did not know the designs of the Sangh Parivar”. The report had accused the RSS of being the chief architect of the demolition.

Justice M.S. Liberhan termed Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi as pseudo-moderates, pretending to keep a distance from the Ram Janambhoomi campaign when they were actually aware of the whole conspiracy. On 30th September 2010, the Lucknow bench of Allahbad High Court gave the verdict stating that the land of the disputed site be divided into three parts – 1/3rd part for Hindus, 1/3rd part for another Hindu sect Nimrohi Akhara and 1/3rd for Muslims.

The verdict was challenged in the Supreme Court which said that High Court had no right to divide the land. But Hindu extremists remained defiant and were not willing to accept verdict and they wanted the entire 2.77 acres of land for constructing the temple. Muslims also claimed entire land of Babri Masjid.