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Direct role in demolishing Babri Masjid

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10.Direct role in demolishing Babri Masjid

10.1Direct role

1. “One of the central motifs of the Ayodhya conflict is a focus on India’s Mughal legacy. The soldier and diarist Babur, founder of the Mughal imperium, is thought to have built the mosque at Ayodhya. Until the 1940s Muslims and Hindus usually tolerated and accomodated one another’s prayers and rituals at the site, just as they did in comparable locali ties elsewhere. But in 1949, when the country was still convulsed by the aftermath of the Hindu-Muslim massacres that accompanied Independence and Partition, the Hindu- supremacist RSS organization began to publicize the claim that the god Ram had come to one of their adherents in a dream and demanded exclusive control of his birthplace. Devotees then proclaimed the miraculous discovery of a sacred image of the god inside the Babri mosque. To ward off trouble, the authorities closed the site to all worshipers.” [Susan Bayly, ‘History and the Fundamentalists: India after the Ayodhya Crisis, Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Vol. 46, No. 7 (Apr., 1993), pp. 7-26]

2. “On the night of December 22/23 1949, a statue of Rama miraculously appeared in the mosque, which since the violence of parti- tion had been guarded by armed watchmen. Just before the “apparition,” Muslim graves had been desecrated and Hindu nationalists had staged a continuous nine-day reading of Tulsidas’s Ramcharitmanas.86 The Hindus interpreted the event as testimony that Rama was directing them after independence to reclaim the center of the nation. The Muslims interpreted the event as an attempt to defile their mosque. It was only with great difficulty that the army and police were able to quell the ensuing riots. In the wake of these riots, leaders from both communities initiated litigation to reassert their claims to the site and the right of entrance which had been closed to both Hindus and Muslims immediately after the violence. The commissioner of Faizabad, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, ordered the district magistrate to remove the image from the mosque. However, the magistrate who was a supporter of the RSS chose to retire rather than follow the order of his superior. Since 1949, the image of Rama has remained in the mosque. In 1950, a branch of the RSS in Ayodhya was able to secure legal permission to perform puja for the image within the Babri Masjid once a year. Subsequently, they also organized uninterrupted devotional singing at the mosque’s gate.”[Roger Friedland and Richard Hecht, ‘The Bodies of Nations: A Comparative Study of Religious Violence in Jerusalem and AyodhyaHistory of Religions, Vol. 38, No. 2 (Nov., 1998), pp. 101-149]

2a. “Thousands of volunteers, organized by the RSS and VHP, descended on the mosque and were met by Muslim opponents; several days of violence ensued, with death tolls reaching into the thousands (Basu et al. 1 993). In the weeks that followed, riots occurred in other major Indian cities. Moreover, for several months prior to the destruction of the mosque, the RSS and its affiliates had fueled communal antagonisms, systematically inciting smaller-scale confronta- tions throughout India and promoting, through the mass media, the idea that Hindus were a majority at risk. The gains of Hindu nationalism have also been evident in the growth of the BJP’s electoral base in the northern states comprising the Hindi belt.” [Mary Hancock, ‘Hindu Culture for an Indian Nation: Gender, Politics, and Elite Identity in Urban South India’ American Ethnologist, Vol. 22, No. 4 (Nov., 1995), pp. 907-926]

3. “I990-I99I saw an unprecedented assault on the city of Ayodhya by thousands of Hindus led by L. K. Advani and spurred to action by the militant rhetoric of organizations such as the RSS (India Today, November 15, I990: I0-14, 19-2I; India Today, December 31, 1990: 34-6).” [FROM Joseph S. Alter, ‘Somatic Nationalism: Indian Wrestling and Militant Hinduism,’ Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 28, No. 3 (Jul., 1994), pp. 557-588

3. “Shortly before noon on Sunday, December 6, some 40,000 kar sevaks of the RSS youth movement Bajrang Dal began to filter through the cordons of military police who offered little or no resistance. They were led by a throng of sadhus wearing saffron bandanas, many carrying the trishuls, others carrying sledgehammers, and shouting “Jai Sri Ram” (Victory to Lord Ram). Wave upon wave of Hindu holy men and kar se- vaks brandishing clubs, iron pipes, and swords pushed through the police and army lines, trampling the steel fences and barbed wire. Some groups among the throng of people surrounding the mosque chanted “Atom bomb, atom bomb!” and others “Powerhouse, powerhouse!” Once inside the enclave, a specially trained force of some 1,200 kar sevaks climbed to the mosque’s domes and began smashing through its ceilings with ham- mers. In less than six hours the mob tore down the mosque brick by brick using shovels, pickaxes, and their bare hands until nothing remained. Four Hindus fell to their deaths and 600 were seriously injured as segments of the ceilings and walls collapsed on them. That night, kar sevaks entered the Muslim quarter of the city, killed ten Muslims, and razed nearly one hundred houses. Others built a temporary temple on the site of the destroyed mosque. Their building continued into the next day. In the evening of December 7, the kar sevaks began to leave on specially arranged trains and buses, and the army moved in to take control of the temple site in the early hours of December 8.” [Roger Friedland and Richard Hecht, ‘The Bodies of Nations: A Comparative Study of Religious Violence in Jerusalem and Ayodhya, History of Religions, Vol. 38, No. 2 (Nov., 1998), pp. 101-149]

4. “A climactic point in this culture of coercion was reached on 6 December, 1992, with the demolition of the Babri Mosque. Not only was the identification of the exact birth place of Rama advertised to be a matter of ‘anubhav’, but the call for its destruction in the preceding months was projected as being ‘janadesh’, a people’s mandate coming from the grassroots. Then at the moment when the mosque was demolished, according to a number of first-hand reports, the RSS boudhik pramukh, said with satisfaction: ‘Today’s events prove once again that history cannot be directed. History happens’. An unrepentant Kalyan Singh, according to the video-tape of his speech during his Calcutta visit, announced that a structure of such proportions could only be brought down because the bhaktas were possessed by divine power.” [Malini Bhattacharya, ‘Women in Dark Times: Gender, Culture and Politics,’ Social Scientist, Vol. 22, No. 3/4 (Mar. - Apr., 1994), pp. 3-15]

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