Advani and the truthOne of the most important accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case LK Advani appeared before the Liberhan Commission of Inquiry on 10 April. LK Advani who is among 41 people charge-sheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on 5 October 1993 in the Babri demolition case, deposed before the commission set up years ago. What he said before the commission can best be described as a bundle of lies unbelievable to even people who have not been able to keep track of the demolition development.
If a single person who could be credited with spoiling India's secular fabric and bringing the two major communities of the country at loggerhead it is LK Advani who led the Babri demolition from front. Not only he headed the Rath Yatra in 1990 that led the country to the greatest communal divide and caused lot of bloodshed in the whole country, but also participated and led the hooligans (Karsevaks) in Ayodhya in December 1992 to demolish the historical Babri Masjid. Now this very same person talks of deepest sorrow on the demolition of the Babri Masjid and goes on to say that it was the saddest day of his life.
The man who occupies most important seat in the central government behind only the prime minister has been fooling around not only the common populace but also the government and our courts.
Testifying for the first time before the MS Liberhan Commission on 10 April, Advani said that the demolition of the Babri Masjid on 6 December was 'unfortunate and painful' and that 'seldom felt as dejected and downcast as I felt that day.' Advani also said that the demolition was unfortunate 'even from the point of view of the cause which my party, BJP, was promoting when it supported the Ayodhaya movement.'
The very next day, LK Advani made a new revelation. The home minister on 11 April said that a de jure temple already existed at the disputed site as a consequence of the 6 December 1992 demolition and the court's direction to maintain the status quo. He also said on his next appearance before the Liberhan Commission that a de facto temple had existed on the site covered by the 'disputed structure' before the demolition. He added that the courtsí order to maintain the status quo, after the construction of the makeshift temple has made the de facto temple de jure. He went on to say, 'nothing but a temple exists at the place. And the court's direction to maintain the status quo have accorded de jure recognition to a de facto temple'.
LK Advani speaks in different tones at different times. The man who lobbied all these years for destruction of the Babri Masjid and went on to organize Rath Yatras and then presided over the demolition in Ayodhya is now showing regret for the demolition. The same man writing in September 16-30, 1997 edition of his party's organ BJP Today, the prime mover of the anti-Babri Masjid campaign expressed regret not for the mosque demolition-which he actually justified-but for the manner in which this happened.
He in the same article had written that 'The mosque at Ayodhya without doubt was a continuous ocular demonstration against Hindus. Now that the ocular provocation is no longer there, it is not a matter of regret.'
Speaking at a public meeting in Ranchi on 24 February 1990, Advani said that 'no one could stop the construction of the temple at Ayodhya at the site chosen by the VHP.' If Ram Janambhoomi temple is not allowed to be constructed at Ayodhya, where will it be constructed-in London? Advani added.
Justifying the Babri demolition, Advani, while addressing a gathering to release a book on 22 October 1993 said that 'the Ayodhya movement signifies the awakening of India's national ethos', adding that 'he had predicted that government's failure to solve the dispute would turn it into the biggest mass movement in the history of India.'
Merely a week before the demolition of the historical mosque, taking a dig at the government and the judiciary alike, a statement drafted by Advani on 29 November 1992 said, 'All the time required by the government and the judiciary has been and is being given, only because of the responsibility that weighs heavily on the Hindus, the movement and its leadership. But this shall not deter or detract us from the objective of the movement.' The statement added that, 'the BJP is committed to construct the temple. Court wranglings can delay and New Delhi can obstruct but no one can deny ultimately.'
The party whose government in UP after giving assurance to the apex court that no harm will be made to the mosque, destroyed it by hooligans it had gathered in Ayodhya has no regard for judiciary. Saffron organizations have always made it amply clear that they have no regards for court and do not believe in the judicial system of the country. LK Advani in a press conference organized on 30 November 1992 amply showed that he does not believe in the courts when he said, ' The recent judicial proceedings on Ayodhya have sent an unambiguous message to Ram Janambhoomi movement that the courts are inadequate forum for the purpose.' He further said that 'I am convinced that it is only the people who can assert in this manner-and provide the lead.' Advani on the same occasion said that 'the worse aspect of it all has been the pressuring and signaling to courts to delay decision and put up hurdles for kar seva.'
Advani made it amply clear that the courts are not capable to solve the issue when he took a dig at the government for drawing the judiciary at the highest level 'into what is essentially a political issue and besides a matter of religious faith'. He blamed the courts for wittingly delaying the issue when he said in the very same press conference that 'there were two clear trends in the judicial orders on Ayodhya - an attempt to delay the decision that would clear the legal hurdles to construct the temple and a discernible anxiety to expedite injunctions that would stifle kar seva.' 'If the judiciary today is seen as an instrument to grant what the government wants the responsibility for that is largely on the government' Advani added.
Advani should have been tried for contempt of court when he rejected a proposal by former prime minister Chandra Shekhar who proposed that 'there be no temple construction until the court passes its judgement.' Advani said on July 1992, six months after demolition, that 'Mr. Speaker, sir, Shri Chandra Shekhar might be knowing that I did not agree to this proposal when it was raised in the National Integration Council meeting because the case is there in the courts for 45 years and I do believe there will be no judgement in the case even in 45 years to come as so many issues are involved in it.'
The home minister who said while deposing before the commission that he did not play any role in the white paper on the Babri demolition brought out by the BJP after the demolition, but the facts indicate that it was he who played most important role in drafting the white paper that is nothing but a distortion of the facts on the Babri issue. It was Advani who released the paper on 18 April 1993 and also briefed the media on the occasion.
The greatest lie that Advani spoke on the occasion was to say that not a single person was killed for the demolition. Nothing could be farther from the truth than this statement. Not only the demolition set off innumerable riots in the whole country but his earlier Rath Yatras had also resulted in hundreds of deaths in the width and breadth of the country. Thousands of unarmed Muslims were butchered by rampaging saffron activists, their properties worth billions of rupees were set in flames, their women dishonored in remotest as well as in as central parts of the country as Delhi Mewat and Meerut.
If Advani does not know of the people killed during these riots he himself instigated and sparked off in the whole country first by organizing his infamous Rath Yatra and then getting the mosque demolished for which he himself collected tens of thousands of frenzied people in Ayodhaya, let us inform him of what happened only the very next day of the demolition across the country. 'At least 225 people were killed and about 1000 wounded across the country today in unabated widespread violence and police firing sparked by the destruction of Babri Masjid at Ayodhya (TOI, 8 December 1992). In Mumbai alone more than forty people were killed and hundreds others wounded in riots that broke out just after the demolition news spread. In other parts of Maharashtra an equally large number of people were killed. 41 people were killed in Gujarat out of which 27 people lynched in Ahmadabad alone.
Around three dozen lives were lost in Uttar Pradesh in the communal riots that broke out with the spread of news of Babri demolition. In Babupurwa area of Kanpur six people were burnt alive. In Jaipur, Rajashtan alone death toll went up to 22. In Bhopal more than twenty people were killed on the same day, while ten people were killed in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, four were killed in Ujjain, three in Burhanpur and one in Jabalpur. In Hyderabad around ten people were killed on the same day. In down south too there were a number of deaths in the riots that broke out following the demolition. In Bangalore alone 22 lives were lost while 9 people were killed in Bidar whereas five people were killed in Gulbarga. These are not the full statistics even of the day one of the violence following the demolition, a number of people were killed in cities like Calcutta, Surat, Patna, Rampur, Saharanpur, Ghaziabad and other parts of the country. The heinous crimes committed against Muslims in Surat remained more or less unreported. Though several times more people were killed in Bombay in post demolition riots but what happened in Surat was no less gruesome. In some respect Surat riots were a degree worse than those of Bombay. Here many women were raped under searchlights and then burnt.
Official figures released by the interior ministry, Government of India show that in the year 1992 alone 1601 people were killed in riots that broke out all over the country. 10417 people were injured according to the official figures. The report shows that the very next year 952 people were killed in communal flare ups caused by the demolition of the Babri Masjid. During the same year 2989 people were injured during those clashes. In post demolition riots in Bombay alone around one thousand people were killed.
The immediate beneficiary of all these bouts of riots as well as riots that occurred before the Demolition benefitted none but the party represented by Advani. A party that had just a handful seats in early nineties in the Lok Sabha is now governing the country thanks to the riots and communal divide that took place during its unholy campaign for the demolition of the Babri Masjid.
Ye tune Hind ki hurmat ke
aaine ko toda hai
khabar bhi hai tujhe masjid ka
gumbad todne wale
ye masjid aaj bhi zinda hai
ahle dil ke sine men
khabar bhi hai tujhe masjid ka
paikar todne wale
abhi yeh sarzamin khali nahin
hai nek bandon se
abhi maujud hain tute hue dil
(Jagannath Azad on hearing the incident of the Babri demolition).