Eyewitnesses recall Babri demolition as if it happened yesterday

By Mumtaz Alam Falahi, TwoCircles.net,

TwoCircles.net special series: Ayodhya 2009

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Even after 16 years Ayodhya residents, both Hindus and Muslims, recall it as if it happened yesterday. Such shocking and painful was the demolition of Babri Masjid there on 6th December 1992, and killing of Muslims and destruction of their property in the vicinity.

It was 11.50 am on that day when some Hindutva extremists climbed on to the mosque and began demolishing it. They completed the task in a few hours and then started killing of Muslims. At least 14 Muslims were burnt alive, around 250 homes were put on fire and several mosques, mazars and graves were razed.

Jugal Kishore Shastri is an ex-RSS pracharak who once was founder member of the Ayodhya unit of Vishwa Hindu Parishad. He was among the leading local Hindu figures to raise the Mandir issue in the beginning. He left Sangh Parivar in 1986. His home-cum-temple, which is at stone’s throw from the then Babri Masjid, was also attacked by karsevaks on that day. He is an eyewitness to the demolition.

Talking to TwoCircles.net Jugal Kishore Shastri says the demolition was the most shameful, anti-national and unconstitutional. The most terrible incident of his life took place on that day when hundreds of houses of Muslims were put on fire and Muslims were thrown into them. Fourteen Muslims were killed.

“Karsevaks in the leadership of Ashok Singhal of VHP and other Hindutva leaders demolished the mosque. They beat up journalists and about 50 people with kirpan attacked my temple. I told them that what they were doing was against Hinduism and this act would tarnish the image of the Hindu religion in the world. The act is anti national and anti constitution. Nirmala Desh Pandey was at my temple. Some journalists who were beaten by karsevaks had taken shelter in my room. Some women journalists were also in my room. I provided them with clothes and around 4 pm helped them go out of Ayodhya safely.”

“The most terrible incident of my life took place after the demolition of Babri Masjid when karsevaks began putting on fire houses of Muslims and threw several Muslims into the burning houses. I am witness to it. This news was not given much coverage in the media as the affected people were all Muslims. Fourteen Muslims were put on fire and about 200 homes were destroyed. Demolition of Babri Masjid was covered extensively but killings of Muslims and burning of their houses were ignored by the media.”

Ram Narayan Maurya was then 22 and would sell Hindu religious cassettes and items used in temples near the Babri Masjid in Hanuman Garhi. He was also aghast at the scene of destruction.

“I was selling Hindu religious cassettes and goods used in temple, meters away from the Babri Masjid-Ram Janam Bhoomi structure. All of a sudden a sea of karsevaks pushed themselves towards the mosque. Some climbed on to it and started demolishing it. Frightened I went home. After the demolition karsevaks put on fire several Muslim homes nearby and killed some Muslims.”

Haji Mahboob Ahmad, witness in Babri Masjid title suit case and resident of Tehri Qaziana mohalla adjoining Babri Masjid land, saw the destruction from his eyes.

“On 6th December 1992 when some karsevaks climbed on to the mosque, I telephoned Prime Minister but he did not talk to me as his secretary said he was very busy. I informed his officer some Kumaramangalam about what was happening at that time here in Ayodhya and urged to protect the mosque but they couldn’t do anything. After demolition of Babri Masjid, karsevaks put on fire several houses of Muslims in the locality. They killed 14 Muslims. My home was surrounded by hundreds of karsevaks. They wanted to kill me as my family has been attached to mosque for generations but Allah saved us from them.”

Muhammad Hashim Ansari, who is fighting the Babri Masjid title suit since 1949, lives in and resident of Panji Tola, about 150 meters from the Masjid land, was also attacked by the mob. His home and the entire Mohalla were put on fire.

“From 26th November 1992 mob started to gather in Ayodhya. Jafar Sharif of Congress was Rail Minister. Special trains were coming to Ayodhya from across the country. On 2nd December my home was surrounded by karsevaks. I gave them a slip and went to CID office and SSP and sought protection. They said they can’t do anything. My home and my Mohalla were destroyed by the karsevaks on 6th December. The government, intelligence and police were all aware of the plan of the karsevaks but they did nothing to protect the mosque and the local Muslims.”