A new book on the BJP has argued that the Babri Masjid demolition was not the result of a well-planned conspiracy but the outcome of top party leaders losing control of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).
In ‘Jugalbandi: the BJP Before Modi,’ Vinay Sitapati, who teaches political science and legal studies at Ashoka University, claims that the Sangh Parivar was fraught with infighting.
This theory is in line with the Special CBI court judgment on September 30 this year that acquitted all 32 accused, including BJP leaders L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, on the ground that there was insufficient evidence to call the demolition a planned conspiracy. However, Sitapati’s account is disputed by others who describe it as an air-brushing of history.
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Absolving BJP of the responsibility of the events that took place on December 6, 1992 is a ‘travesty’, said Congress leader Manish Tewari, adding that UP CM Kalyan Singh gave an unequivocal commitment to the Supreme Court that the Babri Masjid structure would be protected.
“Not just that at various National Integration Council meetings BJP leaders committed to the fact that the mobilisation would not cause harm to the structure. To then say that the demolition was due to infighting is a travesty. Eventually a criminal act was committed which was taken cognizance of by the SC. Nothing can absolve the BJP which was the principal architect of the movement,” he adds.
He also questioned the inaction of then PM Narasimha Rao during the time that the structure was being demolished.
Sitapati says that the then PM Narasimha Rao met Advani three times in November in the countdown to December 6. In a secret meeting on November 25 1992, held at PM’s house, senior BJP leader A B Vajpayee, Uttar Pradesh CM Kalyan Singh and Advani assured Rao that the mosque would be intact, the book claims.
Sitapati writes, “Rao thought Advani was speaking on behalf of the movement. Little did he know that Advani had met the VHP probably only once through November and likely had no contact with either the Bajrang Dal or the Shiv Sena.”
On December 6, the crowd swelled though till noon the message relayed back to the home ministry in Delhi was that everything was under control, says the book. Twenty minutes later a youth crossed the security boundary and climbed up the dome.The boy was joined by thousands of others, who began to chip away.
Describing the events of that day, the author writes that Advani began using the public address system to beg the kar sewaks to climb down. He was joined by H V Sheshadri, the RSS polyglot who appealed to the crowds in multiple languages. Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia, who unlike (former PM) Vajpayee and Advani had always supported the Ayodhya movement, also used the loudspeakers to tell the mob: ‘I am appealing to you as your mother not to do what you are doing.’ (Former journalist) Swapan Dasgupta was on the podium. He remembers the Rajmata shouting: ‘Unko pant se neeche utaaro.’ (Pull them down by their pants.)”
“None of these words carried any weight that day. For a movement built on discipline, the scene around the Babri mosque was one of pandemonium. Holes were bored into the mosque, ropes inserted and walls pulled down,” he writes.
Prof Sameena Dalwai, author of ‘Babri Masjid, 25 years on…’ that recorded accounts from two journalists who were eyewitnesses to the demolition, says that mobs were prepared and equipped to bring down the structure. “I can’t react to the internal politics of the right wing. But what does demolition of an old structure standing there for centuries right in front of the district administration and police personnel tell us? That the politics of hate is winning, and as a result flagrant criminal acts can be justified in moral and legal discourse,” she says.
Source: Times Of India